Our research into London's rich and varied wildlife

Small mammals researchSmall mammals research

Many research projects are undertaken by London Wildlife Trust, often in collaboration with other conservation organisations. Click the links below to find out about our ongoing research, and reports we have recently published.

London Garden City

London: Garden City?

A pioneering study of London's gardens, conducted in partnership with Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL), revealed that London's gardens - making up nearly a quarter of the capital - are changing from green to grey at a rate of 2.5 Hyde Parks per year. Hard surfacing, such as decking and paving, increased by more than a quarter during the eight-year study period. London Wildlife Trust's report highlighted the impacts of garden design and management on wildlife as an issue that needs to be addressed.

Stag beetle (credit Neil Phillips)

Stag Beetle Survey

The globally-endangered stag beetle is Britain’s largest land beetle, almost 8cm in length, and is easily recognised by the male’s distinctive antler-shaped jaws. But despite the decline of stag beetles, London remains a hotspot. Three sites – Epping Forest, Richmond Park, and Wimbledon and Putney Commons – are European Special Areas for Conservation for stag beetles. Researchers still don’t know why there have been relatively fewer sightings across north and east London.

Now, by encouraging the public to report thier sightings, the Trust is helping researchers map the stag beetles' whereabouts and numbers.


Spaces WildSpaces Wild

This report by London Wildlife Trust highlighted the importance of protecting wild spaces as a critical component of London’s green infrastructure. Across the capital more than 1,500 wildlife sites are recognised as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs), comprising almost one fifth of the city. The sites provide a vital home to many of the 13,000 species recorded within Greater London over the last 50 years.

However, SINCs are coming under increasing pressure as the city grows. London boroughs, land managers and communities need to be better equipped to use the policy framework that is in place to ensue they are protected and managed for the benefit of wildlife and people.


Small mammal researchVole Patrol

Vole Patrol is a research project investigating how small mammals such as mice, shrew and vole are faring at selected woodland habitats in London. The findings will help increase awareness of these species and inform future conservation efforts.

Anecdotal evidence suggests these tiny, largely nocturnal creatures may be in decline in their woodland habitats, which in turn could have serious knock-on effects for predator species such as stoat, weasel, owls and other birds of prey. Trust volunteers trained in specialist monitoring techniques are now helping to small mammal survey populations in west London. 


Peaty FindersPeaty Finders

This report from London Wildlife Trust highlighted the rare but important bogs of London. Once common across large areas of England, such bogs are becoming increasingly scarce.

However, the Trust's bog-standard research found that the rare marsh violet can still be found in Shirley near Croydon; the beautiful, star-like flowers of bog asphodel still bloom in Bromley; and the lesser skullcap, pollinated by the long-tongued bee, can still be spotted in Wimbledon Common.


Kestrel illustration by Lynda DurrantKestrel Count

Kestrels are undergoing a long-term decline nationally, but population trends have also fluctuated. To find out about the numbers of these birds of prey in the capital, London Wildlife Trust launched its first Kestrel Count in 1988. This landmark survey found 400 nesting pairs, and sightings at iconic tall buildings including the Tower of London and Palace of Westminster.

A new Kestrel Count campaign is now being conducted in conjunction with Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL). Our latest survey will allow us to build up a picture of changes in kestrel numbers over the last 25 years.