Professor Sir John Lawton has been appointed to chair the review of England’s wildlife network, which was announced by Hilary Benn on September 28.

To report by June 2010, the review will explore if England’s collection of wildlife areas represents a coherent and robust ecological network that will be capable of responding to the challenges of climate change and other pressures.

Announcing the appointment while giving the annual Darwin Lecture at the Natural History Museum, Hilary Benn said: “I am delighted that Sir John has agreed to chair this review. As a distinguished ecologist he will bring a wealth of experience to the review team while they carry out this work that is vital for the future of our wildlife.”

Professor Lawton said: “I greatly welcome this review and am delighted to have been asked to chair it. Climate change poses a major challenge for England’s wildlife, but it is by no means the only threat. We need to ensure that the existing protected-area network is fit for purpose, and if it isn’t, what we do about it.”

According to DEFRA, the full review panel will be announced shortly.

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