Species Recovery Trust
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The Species

Our aim is to save fifty species by the year 2050. Scroll down to find out more about the species and our work on them.




Cicadetta montana - New Forest Cicada

Common in the rest of Europe this Cicada is the last of its kind in the UK.

  • Rarity: Now confined to the New Forest in Hampshire, with some concerns for its continued existence.
  • Cause of decline: Change in habitat and weather patterns. Extreme isolation of remaining populations.
  • What we plan to do: To carry out a major survey to locate any individuals. Setting up a captive breeding programme, and working with researchers to develop a phone-based sampling app.

Decticus verrucivorus


Decticus verrucivorus - Wart-biter

A large dark green cricket with visible dark blotches on the upper body.

  • Rarity: In Great Britain it is extremely localised and restricted to southern England where just five populations are now known (one of these, in Kent, has resulted from a reintroduction). Natural populations only occur in East Sussex, Dorset and Wiltshire. The name derives from the old Swedish tradition of using the crickets to bite off warts.
  • Cause of decline:The animals require a complex mixture of bare ground and long and short turf – either on chalk downland or heathland. Both these habitats, and the forms of management which produce these specific conditions have declined, along with several insects that rely on them.
  • What we are doing: Restoring the habitat at known sites where necessary, as well as improving the chance of migration onto neighbouring sites.
Erotides cosnardi

Erotides cosnardi - Cosnard's Net-winged Beetle

A rare saproxylic beetle, found only in the Wye Gorge/Forest of Dean area and the South Downs.

  • Rarity: 3 sites in England and Wales
  • Causes of decline: Loss of large old beech trees and poor management of remaining ancient woodlands.
  • What we plan to do: Survey each of the 3 remaining sites to collect data on population status and habitat condition. Provide guidelines for future management of sites.
Melandrya barbata

Melandrya barbata - Bearded False Darkling-beetle

A saprophytic beetle, which may now be confined to the New Forest.

  • Rarity: Unknown
  • Cause of decline: Lack of dead wood habitat, and total loss of sites to development.
  • What we plan to do: Instigate surveys of the New Forest in the first incidence, then look at all recent historic sites. Assess population dynamics and long-term viability of sites and change management if necessary.

Triplax lacordairii - Southern oyster mushroom beetle

A very rare detritivorous beetle

  • Rarity: A scattering of sites across southern England
  • Cause of decline: Loss of suitable decaying trees.
  • What we are doing: Reviewing the existing data to create a detailed survey protocol; planning surveys of known sites and other likely places to determine continued presence, status and habitat structure associations; assessment of local impact of mushroom picking; liaison with site managers to develop conservation plans.


Asplenium septentrionale

Asplenium septentrionale - Forked Spleenwort

A rare species of fern that has experienced a rapid decline in the South of England.

  • Rarity: Known from only 2 sites in the South of England
  • Cause of decline: Overcollecting during the Victorian period, over or under shading, and the encroachment of competing vegetation.
  • What we plan to do: Setting up a monitoring network for this species and ensuring appropriate levels of shading at remaining sites.

Carex depauperata - Starved Wood-sedge

A unique sedge, both because of its rarity and the fact it has the largest fruits of any native species.

  • Rarity: 2 sites in the south of England.
  • Cause of decline: Loss of woodland management.
  • What we are doing: Working with landowners to secure the correct management. Creating a third viable population in the wild.
Chenopodium urbicum

Chenopodium urbicum - Upright Goosefoot

A rare arable plant which was introduced to Britain in ancient times.

  • Rarity: Few, if any, stable locations
  • Cause of decline: Changing agricultural practices
  • What we are doing: Working to reintroduce Upright Goosefoot to an Iron Age farm, in collaboration with Natural England. The historical farming practices employed on the farm should provide ideal conditions for this plant.
Dianthus armeria

Dianthus armeria - Deptford Pink

An extraordinarily vivid pink flower which grows at a range of sites in England, but feared to be one of our fastest declining species.

  • Rarity: 24 sites across England an South Wales. It is feared recently extinct in Dorset and Somerset.
  • Cause of decline: Lack of management at several of its sites has led to the loss of the open conditions it requires for survival. This has combined with a decrease in animals likely to spread the seeds to greatly endanger remaining populations.
  • What we plan to do: Give immediate focus to recently extinct sites to try and get plants back to regenerate from seedbank in soils. Carry out urgent habitat management at sites with critically low populations, and draft management plans for all known sites. Where possible establish populations at a landscape level, linking existing and new potential sites for the species.
Gentianella campestris

Gentianella campestris - Field Gentian

A small yet striking gentian, showing one of the fastest declines of any native wildflower.

  • Rarity: Ten sites in southern England (three of which are on The Lizard in Cornwall, and four in Hampshire’s New Forest), as well as a handful of sites in Wales.
  • Cause of decline: Their decline can roughly be associated with the decline of semi-natural grasslands, due to changes in agriculture. It cannot survive in ungrazed grassland.
  • What we plan to do:. Halt its decline in Britain and to investigate possible means for the restoration of populations at sites where it may be extinct. 
Lobelia urens

Lobelia urens - Heath Lobelia

One of our few native Lobelias, a blaze of purple found in acidic bogs.

  • Rarity: 6 sites across the south of England from Cornwall to Sussex.
  • Cause of decline: Loss of heathlands and deterioration in the biodiversity of bog habitats.
  • What we are doing: Working with landowners to secure the correct management, with focus on three of the sites with critically low population numbers.
Lolium temulentum

Lolium temulentum - Darnel

Once a common arable plant, Darnel experienced a severe decline at the beginning of the 20th Century.

  • Rarity: Few, if any, stable locations
  • Cause of decline: Changing agricultural practices
  • What we are doing: Working to reintroduce Darnel to a Roman reconstruction farm, in collaboration with Natural England. This should help to ensure the future survival of Darnel in the UK, but will also add an additional educational element to the farm. 


Lycopodiella inundata

Lycopodiella inundata- Marsh Clubmoss

This living fossil is in fact a type of fern,belonging to a strange relict family of plants which dominated the earth millions of years ago.

  • Rarity: It occurs on just under 70 heathland sites across England, but at many of these exists at perilously low numbers.
  • Cause of decline: Loss of heathland overall, but also a decline in the specific type of habitat, wet heathland with periodically disturbed soils, on which it relies.
  • What we are doing: Monitoring populations across England, can carrying out habitat restoration work to enlarge critically small populations, a technique which has had considerable success so far.

Melampyrum arvense - Field Cow-wheat

A hemi-parasitic member of the Figwort family, occuring in open tussocky grasslands in field boundaries. It used to grow in abundance in crops, and was known as a 'poverty weed' due to its seeds reducing the market value of corn. It has now completely vanished from arable habitats and survives in a handful of sites where open soil conditions are managed for.

  • Rarity: 4 sites, in the south of England.
  • Cause of decline: Agricultural intensification.
  • What we are doing: Currently building up our understanding of the remaining four sites.
Phyteuma spicatum

Phyteuma spicatum - Spiked Rampion

Sometimes referred to as the Rapunzel flower, a bellflower with a host of therapeutic properties, once used by monks.

  • Rarity: 8 sites, all in East Sussex.
  • Cause of decline: Loss of woodland management.
  • What we are doing: Working with landowners to secure the correct management and carrying out manual management at sensitive sites. Working on an ex situ conservation programme with Kew Gardens to enable bulking up at sites which have dropped below viable numbers.
Polygala amarella

Polygala amarella - Dwarf Milkwort

The rarest member of the Milkworts, a perennial which grows on chalky grassland and limestone pastures.

  • Rarity:Roughly 11 sites, clustered on the Kent Downs and Lancashire fells.
  • Cause of decline: Loss of traditionally grazed pastures.
  • What we are doing: Working with project partners to get sites into prime condition to support populations.
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