ARC 2031 research reveals extinction catastrophe waiting to happen on our shores

Single corn bunting bird (Emberiza calandra) sitting on tree branch with young green leaves

Single corn bunting bird (Emberiza calandra) sitting on tree branch with young green leaves

From bats to hedgehogs, butterflies to bumblebees, iconic species of British wildlife could face extinction within a decade if action is not taken to halt their decline. That’s according to research revealed today by Go Organic. A shocking 40% of our 1 million insect species are teetering on the brink[1], and human activities are to blame. The ARC 2031 study unveils 10 precious native species most at risk of vanishing from our shores, for the most part, due to the industrialisation of food production and, with that, the excessive use of harmful pesticides.

Developed in partnership with Principal Curator of Natural Sciences, Jo Hatton, from the renowned Horniman Museum, the ARC 2031 research has been released to mark the first day of Organic September, a month-long celebration shining a spotlight on the significant benefits organic food and farming practices offer to increasing and protecting biodiversity.

From once familiar garden friends to secretive night-time visitors, the shocking ARC2031 list is further evidence that, despite more people than ever showing interest in nature and the environment, we can all still do much more to protect wildlife – even on our own doorstep. The list offers a stark reminder of what we stand to lose and includes some of the nation’s most beloved creatures – all of which could be pulled back from the brink if we make some small, and easy, changes. Simplest of all? Swapping a few products in our regular shop to organic means supporting those businesses, farmers and producers working with nature to protect our wildlife and biodiversity and care for our planet.

Organic means working with nature, not against it. Organic is designed to respect nature and takes a balanced approach, using natural methods to create and maintain healthy soils, take care of animals and support more wildlife, rather than the overuse of less natural interventions like pesticides which have contributed to the steep decline of our ARC 2031 species, edging them towards extinction. As a result, organic farms are, on average, home to up to 50% more wildlife, and 30% more species. Choosing organic to protect our wildlife really is a no-brainer!

Introducing The ARC 2031 list:

  • Grey Partridge – UK Red list

  • Corn Bunting – UK Red list

  • Grey Long-eared Bat – UK Red list – Endangered

  • Hedgehog – UK Red list – Vulnerable

  • Essex Skipper – 2010 Butterfly Red list

  • Small Skipper – 2010 Butterfly Red list

  • Garden Bumblebee – Under increased threat

  • Hoverfly – UK Red list – Nationally scarce

  • Necklace Ground beetle – UK Red list – Endangered

  • Hop flea beetle – UK Red list – Endangered

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Discussing the list, research lead, Jo Hatton, commented: “If we don’t protect biodiversity, it could have profound consequences. The ARC 2031 list reveals 10 species in the UK, under increasing threat, where pesticide use has been implicated in their decline. Birds such as the Grey Partridge and butterflies such as the Essex Skipper are vital links in our complex ecosystem food webs and help preserve biodiversity – from natural pest controllers to crucial pollinators, the importance of preserving each species cannot be overestimated. It is vital that we protect them.”

ARC 2031 ambassador, zoologist and Autumnwatch presenter Megan McCubbin commented: “We are all becoming more ecologically aware every day and the products we choose to buy can help sustain our environment and biodiversity within it. There is power in our pounds, so let’s spend them wisely and make moves towards a greener, more organic future.”

Harriet O’Regan, Marketing Director of Go Organic, said: “The pandemic has made us even more conscious of the importance of our natural world and what we can do to help protect it. The ARC 2031 research really underlines that global problems of biodiversity loss are also present right on our doorstep; it is startling to see the incredible creatures we take for granted that could be lost.

Harriet continued: “As part of Organic September, we want to celebrate British wildlife, share the good work that is going on to protect it and highlight how everyone can make simple choices to help protect the nature around us. Our sector wide campaign this year focuses on why Organic farming is what the planet would choose and how, if we work with nature and not against it, we can all do our bit to make a difference.

“I am delighted to see how many people are choosing to buy organic and the breadth of UK retailers now offering more organic products in their ranges. Join the movement to Go Organic and help us create positive change.”

To celebrate the role we can all play, Go Organic will be highlighting the stories behind the ARC 2031 species at a free exhibition in Central London from 23rd-25th September – showing visitors how their choices really can make a difference.

Megan concluded: “With so much at stake, and such simple ways we can all make a difference, I encourage everyone to Go Organic this September. It’s what the planet would choose.”



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