|THE LEEDS MEETING - OVERVIEW AND WORKSHOP REPORTS|
Wildland in Britain - the new potential: A review of progress on achieving wilder landscapes
9th May 2005 University of Leeds
The forty or so people at the first public meeting of the Wildland Network brought with them their enthusiasm for wildland a well as considerable knowledge of its practical reality. The broad range of their affiliations and interests showed that wildland is approached through all manner of directions whether it is through art, a responsibility for species and landscapes, or just because of awe and inspiration.
The morning session of speakers covered a broad spectrum of the practical reality of contemporary wildland. Peter Taylor's talk amply illustrated the contents of his forthcoming book - Beyond Conservation: a wild land strategy - which was eagerly awaited as it provides a primer for anyone who seeks the inspiration and motivation of Wildland Network members. He was joined by Derek Gow who gave a lusty review of wildland re-introductions in continental Europe, and the difficulties we seem to have in following that lead in the UK. Derek believes that if the initiative to reintroduce the beaver in Scotland falters, then there is no chance of us tackling the more charismatic re-introductions such as the lynx.
Steve Carver and Simon Bates showed the results of their wildland mapping work using Geographical Information Systems, a tool that is both diagnostic but also an immensely powerful visual key that can begin to involve communities. Toby Aykroyd looked at the economic benefits that can be realised through wilding, showing that imaginative linking could combine the expected ecological benefits with social and enterprise programs. Rachel Yanick finished the session with a review of the Wild Ennerdale project where landowners have combined efforts to take a whole landscape approach. Ennerdale is going wild by degrees and its example is there for all of us to see. Questions to the speakers panel (follow the link) covered wind farms; herbivore grazing projects; over-management of land; and the measures needed to take this enthusiasm for wildland out into the mainstream.
You can follow the links on the left for the reports of the workshop session, and for the result of the vote to find priorities for the Wildland Network in its Next Steps.