First light on Llyn Padma, Snowdonia, Llanberis, North Wales

Chief Executive's welcome

A year of great political uncertainty did not hamper our efforts to save nature and we have much to celebrate.

Introduction from Dr Mike Clarke

RSPB Chief Executive

A year of great political uncertainty did not hamper our efforts to save nature and we have much to celebrate.

Throughout our long history, the RSPB has always been about people coming together to make a difference for nature. Back in 1889, our founding members began to speak out for birds and ultimately brought about the Importation of Plumage (Prohibition) Act in 1921, forbidding plumage from being imported to Britain.

Almost 100 years on, we've been celebrating yet another fantastic victory for nature. After two years of hard work and dedicated campaigning to prevent the world's strongest wildlife laws from being weakened, we heard that the EU Nature Directives are safe.

This momentous achievement wouldn't have been possible without the combined efforts of our many partners and the 500,000 people across Europe who declared their support for the Directives.

A significant number of these were RSPB supporters and I am immensely proud of the part that they played. Read more about this and our other campaigns.

The past year has been one of tremendous political uncertainty, and the UK's vote to leave the European Union in particular could have a significant impact on nature.

There's a risk that we will lose many of the environmental protections currently in place. But there are also significant opportunities, for example the creation of a new and improved agricultural policy. That's why we're working hard to make sure that we get the best deal possible for nature post-Brexit. Find out more about our vision for farming and nature.

Working together

The RSPB has always worked in partnership, and in 2016/17 we continued to join forces to ensure that we make the biggest impact for nature. In September 2016, we teamed up with more than 50 other organisations to launch the State of Nature: 2016 report. Published three years after its predecessor, this important report contained some worrying statistics:

  • 56% of the UK species studied have declined since 1970
  • and one in ten could be lost from our shores.

It is clear that the threats facing nature are immense, but this annual review is full of stories that should give us hope. Whether it's the 800% increase in cirl buntings thanks to our targeted recovery project or the reduction in albatross deaths brought about by the efforts of our Albatross Task Force we can, and do, achieve great things for nature.

It would be impossible to highlight all of the RSPB's work in this Annual Review, but the country sections will give you a taste of the wonderful conservation and public engagement projects that we've been involved with across the UK. You'll also find an overview of how we're giving nature a home on our reserves.

Thanks to our members

None of the RSPB's achievements would be possible without our members and supporters, and I'm proud to report that we ended the 2016/17 financial year with 1,222,985 members, more than ever before.

Volunteers also play a vital role in saving nature, by contributing their time and expertise. In fact, volunteers donate a staggering 954,000 hours of their time to us each year. Find out more about how their passion and dedication is helping us to achieve our goals.

Whatever role you have played over the past year, I am immensely grateful. Together, we can save nature.

Mike Clarke, RSPB Chief Executive