London Natural History Society The place for wildlife in London

London Natural History Society - The place for wildlife in London

About LNHS

London's biodiversity faces new challenges from climate change and development pressure. You can contribute to the conservation of wildlife in the London area by helping to record the changing fortunes of the many species that live here. Together with our historic records, this information will help us to tackle the conservation issues of the future.

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 The London Natural History Society comprises of a number active sections focussing on specific taxonomic groups or wildlife sites.

The Story of the Cockney Sparrow

Once upon a time the House Sparrow was so common in London that it was chosen for the logo of our Society, as the most typical London bird that everyone would be familiar with. Then suddenly, a few year ago, it seemed to have gone from most of London's streets and gardens.

In fact recent House Sparrow surveys and research in London carried out by LNHS, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and the RSPB have provided up-to-date distribution data and shown that there are patches where they still seem to be doing well, but distribution is fragmented, and in much of central London they have virtually gone. In 1925, 2,600 were counted in Kensington Gardens; in 2001 just 8*.

This story illustrates the importance of keeping species records - otherwise significant changes in abundance or distribution patterns would be missed - and it shows that common species need to be recorded as much as rare ones. Keeping species records is one of the fundamental principles of ecology and conservation. Without data on how a species is doing and where it is distributed, we cannot plan how to conserve it.

Constant Change

During its long history members of the Society have recorded the effect upon our region's wildlife of the the huge urban expansion of London, which initially led to habitat loss and severe air pollution. From the 1950s onwards clean air legislation brought respite from pollution, but London's wildlife faced new challenges, especially in the periphery of our area, from the intensification of agriculture, and the introduction of toxic pesticides.

We now see new changes in the diversity and distribution of wild species at the same time as a changing climate. But are all these changes in wild populations really caused by climate change? There can be many reasons why a species expands its range, or increases or declines in numbers. Answering questions like this is one reason why the on-going collection of species records is more important than ever.

Mapping distribution

In recent decades the Society published a number of distribution atlases, partly based on records compiled by members. These were major publications that give us important baseline data against which to monitor future changes in species distribution.

LNHS Recording Area Maps

Each map will open in a new browser window; to return to this page, close the window. All maps are printable.  
- A map of the LNHS recording area can be viewed or downloaded here.
- A map showing the Vice-counties covered by the LNHS area can be viewed or downloaded here.
- A map showing the main towns in the LNHS area can be viewed or downloaded here.

Data Protection

Your records may include personal data as they show where you were on a particular date.  The LNHS’s Privacy Notice explains how and why we use people’s personal data and your rights in relation to that data.  It explains that records may be passed on to other organisations in order to further our natural history and conservation objects.  Please read the Privacy Notice before submitting records to us.