PROJECTS to protect threatened animal species in Dorset will benefit from a share of £14.5 million of funding, it has been announced.
Dorset Wildlife Trust has been awarded a share of the money by Natural England, as part of the Species Recovery Grant.
It is hoped the cash will help recover some of Dorset’s most rare and threatened species – from the sand lizard and lapwing to the great crested newt, greater horseshoe bat and the ladybird spider.
The Dorset Species Recovery Programme will implement a series of practical interventions to create and improve the habitat for a set of 10 ‘priority species’ across 11 Dorset Wildlife Trust nature reserves.
The species are threatened or near-threatened and have a need for urgent action if they are to survive.
The 10 species are: pillwort, marsh clubmoss, sand lizard, heath tiger beetle, lapwing, dingy mocha, great crested newt, ladybird spider, fly orchid and greater horseshoe bat.
Sites to benefit from the funding include heathland reserves across the county, where dry heathland scrapes will be created to help the sand lizard, alongside wet scrapes for pillwort and marsh club moss to establish itself.
In West Dorset, ponds will be created and restored at Kingcombe and Powerstock Common to benefit the great crested newt.
And in the north of the county, woodland management will aim to provide more habitat for the fly orchid.
Andrew Pollard, conservation director at the trust, said: “We are thrilled to have been successful in our application for the Natural England’s Species Recovery Grant.
“Dorset Wildlife Trust is in a unique position to make a sustainable difference to the current downward population trends of these species in our nature reserves across the county.
“The planned programme of habitat management works will be targeted at the 10 priority species, but we have identified that it will naturally make a significant contribution to the fortunes of a great many more.”