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Curlew Curlew on drystone wall – Credit: Whitfield Benson

C2 – Priority species

Work with farmers and landowners to achieve and maintain stable or increasing populations for 90% of ‘priority species‘ by 2026, including the UK ‘red-listed’ upland birds — Black Grouse; Curlew; Hen Harrier; Lapwing; Merlin; Skylark; and Yellow Wagtail — for which the National Park is renowned, and those of international importance.

‘Priority species’ are species listed in the Yorkshire Dales Biodiversity Action Plan (2011).

How the local partners are doing on this objective

Progress: The Yorkshire Dales Biodiversity Forum’s 2021 Trends and Status Report showed that 76% of priority species had populations that were either stable or increasing – down from 81% in 2016.

The Nature Recovery Plan has identified 40 ‘category 1 species’ that require bespoke conservation action and set a target of 90% of these to be in stable or increasing populations by 2040. The Yorkshire Dales Biodiversity Forum is preparing a plan for monitoring these species and the broad actions needed to conserve them at local level.

Press Releases & related articles:

13 December 2022 – ‘Priority species’ identified for Nature Recovery Plan

16 August 2021 – Kicking to see what’s alive: wildlife surveys carried out

12 April 2021 – Landscape made fit for dormice

30 March 2021 – Nature recovery work ‘accelerating’

Rationale: Of the 59 nationally-important species for which trend data is available, 48 (81%) currently have populations that are stable or increasing.  The importance of the National Park is highlighted by the fact that it holds stable or increasing populations of 4 of the 7 nationally red-listed species named above.

Lead partner:  Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Supporting partners:  Natural England; Forestry Commission; Environment Agency; Northern Upland Chain Local Nature Partnership; People’s Trust for Endangered Species; RSPB;  British Association for Shooting and Conservation;

Further information:  YDNPA -Species

Cost over 5 years:  £500,000 [YDNPA costs.  Excludes agri-environment etc]

Funding shortfall

Related objectives: A1; A8; C1; C5; D1; D2; D3; D7; E4

Ecosystem services:  Biodiversity; Tranquillity; Sense of place and inspiration; Recreation; Pollination


Baseline: 81% of priority species for which data are available are stable or increasing (2016 Trends and Status Report).

‘State of the Park’ indicator – YES