Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus, male in roost tree, Caledonian pine forest, Scotland

Why do species matter?

Our understanding of the huge environmental challenges we face is growing. We're increasingly concerned about the threats facing our nature and just what we stand to lose.

Why do species matter?

The natural environment provides us with so many benefits that we often take for granted. These include fresh water, food, and nutrient recycling through decay. The true value of these to every one of us is enormous. In fact, we could not survive without them.

To protect these vital natural functions, it's essential to think about managing habitats across entire landscapes. That's just what we're doing through our Futurescapes programme.

However, we believe that landscape-scale conservation must be integrated with a focus on threatened species. Some of our most vulnerable species need targeted conservation action to survive. What is a landscape without the species that belong within it?

Why should you care about species?

The simple truth is that people do care. You've only got to look at our online community pages to see how much people enjoy wildlife. Studies are proving what we've always somehow understood – the natural world is good for us, for our physical and mental well-being.

Wild birds and other wildlife are also economically important. People want to see wildlife and a great way to do so is to visit a nature reserve. Direct employment, visitor spending, employment of contractors and so on all have an economic impact on an area. For example, the Isle of Mull benefits by an incredible £2 million per year from tourists who want to see the white-tailed eagles. Our Bempton Cliffs nature reserve in North Yorkshire receives more than 100,000 visits a year – and the local economy benefits from the equivalent of 25 full-time jobs.

Many species need help now

Many species are in urgent need of help, and more are joining the list of those in trouble than the list of those that have recovered. In times of economic uncertainty, money must be used with great care. It’s clear that some species need help – but what is the best way to get the greatest benefit for UK species from every penny?

What are we doing to help?

A few years ago we developed a species recovery strategy, where we identified the species that most need our help and committed to improving their conservation prospects to help them on their way towards a healthy conservation status. Although we have refreshed this priority list recently in line with updated information about how species are doing, we continue to implement this strategy today.

Aerial view of RSPB Bempton Cliffs nature reserve