The variety of habitats means that there is a wide range of wildlife. A popular challenge among birders is to find over 100 species in the county in a day. The county's wildlife is protected by several wildlife charities such as the Devon Wildlife Trust, which looks after 40 nature reserves. The Devon Bird Watching and Preservation Society (founded in 1928 and known since 2005 as "Devon Birds") is a county bird society dedicated to the study and conservation of wild birds. The RSPB has reserves in the county, and Natural England is responsible for over 200 Devon Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves, such as Slapton Ley. The Devon Bat Group was founded in 1984 to help conserve bats. Wildlife found in this area extend to a plethora of different kinds of insects, butterflies and moths; an interesting butterfly to take look at is the Chequered skipper.

The botany of the county is very diverse and includes some rare species not found elsewhere in the British Isles other than Cornwall. Devon is divided into two Watsonian vice-counties: north and south, the boundary being an irregular line approximately across the higher part of Dartmoor and then along the canal eastwards. Botanical reports begin in the 17th century and there is a Flora Devoniensis by Jones and Kingston in 1829. A general account appeared in The Victoria History of the County of Devon (1906), and a Flora of Devon was published in 1939 by Keble Martin and Fraser. An Atlas of the Devon Flora by Ivimey-Cook appeared in 1984, and A New Flora of Devon, based on field work undertaken between 2005 and 2014, was published in 2016.

Rising temperatures have led to Devon becoming the first place in modern Britain to cultivate olives commercially.




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