Thursday 19 February 2015

The sad loss of Oliver Rackham – one of the greatest contributors to the study of trees, woodlands and the landscape.

Oliver Rackham was one of my greatest inspirations.  Before his great work “Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape”, few of us had any idea about ancient woodland; we didn't understand how special they were, few realized that woods were managed and very few understood the great historical and cultural value of woodland.  Oliver Rackham opened a whole library of rich new meaning to generations of people with an interest in woodland and landscape. His books were just becoming well known as I was developing my own interest in woodlands and his sudden death after collapsing at a dinner in Leckhampton leaves a great hole were there once was the leading authority on trees and woodlands.  Some great tributes have been payed to Oliver; see, for example posts by Keith Kirby and Ian Rotherham.

Friday 13 February 2015

What Nature Does For Britain - A brilliant new book draws on the work of The Wildlife Trusts across the UK

A new book by Tony Juniper, What Nature Does for Britain, takes a fascinating journey through Britain and powerfully illustrates how we all need nature – for our health, wealth and security.  He explores how nature makes us happy, helps us to feel better and is good for business too.  The book also looks at how the protection of natural habitats can also provide a cleaner, cheaper water supply; how healthy soils help purify water, reduce flooding and store carbon, thus combating climate change; and how food production in the UK remains fundamentally dependent on a thriving natural world.

In the book Tony visits people and places across Britain to illustrate the social and economic benefits of landscape and habitat restoration.  The book includes many examples of The Wildlife Trusts’ work such as:
·         Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s Pumlumon Project where landscape restoration upstream seeks to reap flood defence benefits downstream
·         Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Potteric Carr – a beautiful urban wildlife retreat on the edge of Doncaster, designed to store quantities of water and prevent local flooding
·         Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust’s awe-inspiring ospreys, eco-tourism and habitat creation with Anglian Water at Rutland Water
·         Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s peatland restoration near Manchester to create fabulous habitats and store carbon at Chat Moss and other bogs
·         Ulster Wildlife’s expertise in maintaining wildlife-rich farmland and the benefits of reserves like Slievenacloy
·         Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s work to improve community greenspace, making it wilder and bringing social benefits to deprived and run-down housing estates

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says:  “What Nature Does for Britain is a fact-packed challenge to any preconceptions that greens spend their lives complaining.  There are positive alternatives and this book makes these very clear.  What Nature Does for Britain provides great material for politicians, town planners, health workers and even the Treasury to justify taking into account the true value of wildlife and natural ecosystems.  Tony Juniper illustrates the folly of short-term gain strategies which damage the natural world.  The tax payer is being landed with unnecessary bills now but it is the next generation that it will cost most dearly.  I’m delighted that the author has chosen examples of The Wildlife Trusts’ work to illustrate the benefits of restoring our ecosystem for people’s happiness, health and for their purses.”