Close up photo of rare Reddish Buff Moth. Brown coloured wings, green blurred background
Reddish Buff Moth by Tracey Dove

The Isle of Wight National Landscape has a rich biodiversity largely due to the varied geology, landform and ongoing natural processes. The areas of chalk grassland; maritime slopes and cliffs; estuarine habitats; ancient woodlands and notable species are of particular importance regionally, nationally and internationally.

Anthropogenic climate change due to carbon and other emissions; intensification of food production in the agricultural sector; pressure from increased built development for transport and housing; commerce and industry and increasing recreational activity have all led to change in the countryside and a decrease in biodiversity as a result of habitat change or loss.

Wildlife and the countryside have evolved with the influence of people throughout history. Since the mid-nineteenth century the pace of change has increased, which has had an impact on habitats and species.

Chalk grassland on the Isle of Wight has declined by two-thirds since 1850, however, a mosaic of important habitats remain. Areas of land that have poor soil, saline conditions or steep slopes have avoided the intensification associated with more productive land. The result is small areas of semi-natural habitat of high wildlife value being surrounded by a more hostile, less biodiverse, intensively farmed landscape. However, the Island is more fortunate than many areas in lowland Britain, in still having areas of interconnecting and wildlife-rich habitats. These may act as important sources of diversity, with the potential to re-colonise the wider countryside when farming practice becomes less intensive.

Visit the projects page to read about the wildlife projects Isle of Wight National Landscape Partnership are collaborating on.

View the Isle of Wight Nature Recovery Strategy document for in depth information (PDF opens in new window)