In the UK the black bog ant is known from only a small number of bogs, wet heaths and mossy stream sides in Dorset and Hampshire, and from an isolated site near Carmarthen in Dyfed. The species seems to have disappeared from a number of its former strongholds in the New Forest, and has been recorded in only 9 one km squares there since 1975.
This species is listed as Endangered in the GB Red List.
Current factors causing loss or decline
Loss of permanent bog habitat through land drainage and the consequent lowering of the water table, agriculture and afforestation.
Natural succession, leading to the overgrowth of carr and scrub.
Excessive grazing pressure and trampling of nests.
Pollution and eutrophication of watercourses.
Potential genetic isolation, inbreeding and loss of genetic fitness.
The Dyfed population is monitored annually, and drainage ditches are being dammed to maintain the water table.
Action plan objectives and targets
Maintain all known populations.
Enhance the size of all known populations.
Restore at least 20 self-sustaining populations to the former range in the UK by the year 2005.
Proposed actions with lead agencies
Policy and legislation
Seek to ensure that river management activities in occupied areas take into account the requirements of this ant. (ACTION: NRA)
Consider how policies and existing incentive schemes might be used to encourage landowners and managers to maintain water levels and water quality at occupied sites. (ACTION: MAFF, NRA, WOAD)
Site safeguard and management
Following further research to identify precise habitat requirements, review management in the New Forest (particularly stocking and grazing levels and forest management practice) and consider modifications in areas where this species would benefit. (ACTION: FA, FE)
Seek to secure sympathetic management of all known sites. (ACTION: CCW, NE)
Seek to ensure that water level management plans take into account the ecological requirements of this species where appropriate. (ACTION: NE, IDBs, NRA)
Species management and protection
Following feasibility assessments and identification of suitable sites, seek to restore at least 20 self-sustaining populations to former sites by the year 2005, using habitat restoration where necessary. (ACTION: CCW, NE)
Seek to ensure the survival of threatened nest sites through implementation of short-term remedial management action. (ACTION: CCW, NE)
Ensure the provision of guidance on species and habitat management to site owners and managers. (ACTION: CCW, NE)
Future Research and Monitoring
Promote research into the ecology of the ant, including investigation of the genetic variation between colonies to ensure the maintenance of viable, but distinct, populations and to help identify suitable management methods. (ACTION: CCW, NE)
Survey all current and former sites to ascertain the current status of the species in the UK and to identify sites for translocation by the year 2000. (ACTION: CCW, NE)
Encourage regular monitoring of all extant populations and seek to identify any further threats to the species, in particular the effects of summer drought on populations size. (ACTION: CCW, NE)
Encourage research on the ecology and distribution of the species at an international level and use the information and expertise gained towards its conservation in the UK. (ACTION: CCW, NE, JNCC)
Pass information gathered during survey and monitoring of this species to JNCC or BRC so that it can be incorporated in national databases. (ACTION: CCW, NE)
Provide information annually to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre on the UK status of the species to contribute to maintenance of an up-to-date global red lists. (ACTION: JNCC)
Communications and Publicity
Promote opportunities for the appreciation and conservation of the black bog ant and its habitat. (ACTION: CCW, NE)
Links with other action plans
Originally published in: Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report - Volume II: Action Plans (December 1995, Tranche 1, Vol 2, p139)