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Conservation report highlights success in increasing numbers of endangered damselfly

CONSERVATION work in the Pembrokeshire National Park has seen a boost in the numbers of an endangered damselfly – found only in the Preseli Hills and the New Forest.

A report on conservation across Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 2019/20 details land management and conservation work carried out at more than 100 sites “aimed at benefiting priority habitats and species.”

Presenting the annual report at Wednesday’s (September 23) National Park operational review committee, conservation officer Mary Chadwick highlighted the successful work done in the Preselis with the Southern Damselfly.

Funded with a Natural Resources Wales vital nature grant of £19,000 the committee heard that that the work included survey previously restored areas as well as identifying another 20 suitable for restoration over the next ten years, and up to 30 years in the future.

The aim to make a resilient central population of the endangered damselfly by allowing it to spread outwards into suitable habitat, with enhancement and creation, has already shown to be working.

Ms Chadwick said that areas where enhancements had been made already included Blaencleddau, Dolau Isaf and Waun Isaf with a survey this summer of 11 sites indicating that seven had adult southern damselflies present where they hadn’t been before.

She added that the timing of the adults emerging coincided with a wet weather period, meaning there will be more that were not spotted.

“It gives us the confidence to continue the work,” said Ms Chadwick, adding that the enhancements also benefited other wildlife including the Marsh fritillary butterfly.

Across the park there are “a number of live projects aimed at engaging landowners in a particular aspect of land management, for example, control of non-native invasive species through the ‘Stitch in Time’ project,” the report adds, as well as on authority-owned land such as the Llanion Meadow.

At Freshwater East, the Brown Hairstreak butterfly has been recorded for the first time and improvements to grazing have been made at Porthgain Meadow and Carew Castle.

Dr Rosie Plumber praised the work, added, “the breadth of coverage with a small team is fantastic.”

Volunteers and partnership working are also highlighted in the report and all contribute to the conservation of the National Park.

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