Current conservation practice, not fit for purpose, why?


  • Kieran - 9 years ago

    Interesting blog: I shall have to read more... I made the mistake of reading your strapline on Netweather, where I spend far too much time. Anyway now onto the day job!

    I believe that as a species we are at a crossroads but we seem to blindly stumble forward without looking at the other directions we could travel. Why is this? Well it is very hard to change status quo as it is protected by those who have an interest in maintaining it. It is for this reason that our wildlife is declining, both in the UK and elsewhere. The 'State of Nature' report is not news to those of us who work in the trade and, when Owen Paterson was questioned about its contents on Radio 4's Today Programme, he basically said that those who wrote it were unduly negative and that rivers had gotten cleaner since 1990! This is the problem: politicians don't really care and neither, in truth, does the media.

    An example from BBC Look North last night: ABLE are going to build a new development on the South Bank of the Humber and the go-ahead was given yesterday. They interviewed a local politician or two and the local pub landlord all of whom said wow, 4,000 jobs. They then went back to the studio in Hull and the news presenter said 'fantastic news' but was it. There was no mention, not a whisper, of the fact that the site will intrude onto an SPA. SAC and SSSI, covering over mudflats used by wading birds: that's right, not even a hint there may be some environmental disbenefit. OK, I hear (some) of you say, what about Biodiversity Offsetting? As a naturalist do you really believe that habitats such as that that will be lost on the South Bank can be replaced somewhere else - in the Northwest of England perhaps as the Government wishes? No. of course not, but, until we the populace wake up and realise what we had as children will not be available to our own, we will continue to stumble down the road, rather than making that turn. To prolong the metaphor, the longer we take to do this, the more difficult it will be as we will have to turn back before we make the turn.

    We are a country run by technocentric cornucopian governments who believe that we are not in a zero-sum game and everyone can benefit from 'progress', However, as ecologists we know we are prisoners of the sun and we are in zero sum game and we, as a species, are taking too much net primary productivity. Technology cannot save us from this trap, we are essentially stuck on this planet and it needs to feed and clothe us. The more species we lose from ecosystems, the more fragile they become and the nearer we get to their total collapse and the loss of (buzz word alert) the ecosystem services they provide. Without these services we, as Captain Mannering would have said, 'are all doomed'. Sadly this is the case and the loss of biodiversity is the warning sign, flashing ever brighter as we consume more and more. The next warning will be a visit from one (at least) of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. I may not be there to see this, and neither will many of the species we share this planet with, however, it is likely my children and grandchildren will be.

  • Bill - 9 years ago

    Tony, I look forward to reading your blog as this is a topic I care a lot about. Most of the rest of my family (both kids and wife) work in or are studying conservation and environmental issues and I volunteer with a couple organizations. I also occassionally write about conservation issues/highlight organizations in my marketing blog. I am interested in the results of your poll, but I think that there are some possible reasons missing or at least not explicitly represented. Thanks!

  • Darren Engel - 9 years ago

    In many areas the system of creating a reserve or protected area for a species is simply not good enough especially in habitats affected either directly or indirectly by people. I perceive a practical need to change our relationships with animals in habitat disturbed areas.
    For example in Australia many marsupials are being decimated by the more successful foxes and cats. Small marsupials are being eradicated in an undetermined rate and Quolls (native cats) are being out competed if not eaten also. A number of scientists here believe if everyone had native cats and small marsupials as pets instead of cats, rabbits etc then there would not be a threat. The family that wants to get rid of their pets will release them into the wild instead of a stray cat which eats on average one native animal a day or a rabbit which out breeds everything. There would also be a viable domesticated gene pool. Of course not all wild animals can be domesticated but many can, the sugar glider a small gliding marsupial from Australia is now a major pet in the usa with over 30 000 being kept while in Australia it is still illegal to keep any native mammal.

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