Tuesday, 21 August 2007

A Vision for the Wildlife of Sussex

Just over ten years ago, the Sussex Wildlife Trust published ‘Vision for the Wildlife of Sussex’, http://www.sussexwt.org.uk/about/page00003.htm an environmental agenda for the next 50 years. The Vision moved away from the defensive approach to nature conservation, in which the ‘best’ wildlife sites are identified and protected. Instead it painted a picture of the sort of environment we should like to see in 2045. To give this reality it set targets for the amount of habitat that might be needed in order to conserve the wildlife of Sussex.

The sussex Wildlife Trust is in the process of writing a document that aims to look at the progress against these targets that has been made over the past 10 years. This should be available in a few months time. It will give a broad overview of some of the major changes that have (or have not) been made over the last decade.

Much of the work in the Trusts Vision was incorporated into the Biodiversity Action Plan for Sussex. this includes a more comprehensive and continually updated audit of activity against targets. for this please follow the link: http://www.biodiversitysussex.org/

What next?

Ten years ago the Vision for the Wildlife of Sussex was imaginative and positive. We think that it has helped to make Sussex a richer county than would otherwise have been the case. We must be equally positive over the next decade. Indeed with the threats from increasing consumption, more population, development pressure, increasing resource use and the likely effects on biodiversity, there is an even greater urgency to produce biodiversity gains now than there was 10 years ago.

A key means of achieving this will be through maintaining the nature conservation value of the county as a whole. We will need to improve the way that wildlife habitats function within the wider landscape, especially with the threat of climate change. So SWT and other conservationists want to create an ecological network, larger blocks of habitat linked in a landscape through which wild plants and animals can move.

This ecological network approach to rebuilding biodiversity has already been taken forward in the “Living Landscape for the South East” ( see other postings on this blog, also: http://www.sussexwt.org.uk/conservation/index.htm ) produced by the Wildlife Trusts in the south-east. This builds on the approach promoted in Sussex Biodiversity Action Plans and in our Vision, providing an agenda that gives wildlife the best chance on a landscape scale.

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