Nature in Charge – a review of UK Wildland projects
14th October 2005
University of Central Lancashire, Penrith Campus, Newton Rigg
meeting of the Wildland Network was organised and hosted by the partners
of the Wild Ennerdale project.
meeting was attended by 50 people who heard speakers talk about a range of
wildland projects led by public bodies, NGO's, community groups and
private landowners. Below are
of the main points to emerge from the discussion
after each pair of presentations. The presentations can be downloaded as
PowerPoint Shows (PPS):
Reviewing wildland projects
– key definitions and key issues in compiling directories of wildland
Fisher, Self-willed Land and Wildland Network (700kb
Robert McMorran, consultant to Scottish Natural Heritage & Wild Scotland
Initiative (339kb PPS)
scale of wild land projects ranges from huge to very small
Isolated wildland and wildlife sites can be an oasis in a desert and
need care and recognition
to think how to link up wild land and wildlife places, of whatever scale
range of wild land projects have different situations and different
benefits In describing and categorising wild land projects need to
include ‘people’ as a criterion
projects led by agencies and public bodies
Wildland prospects in the North Pennines - Peter Samson, North
Pennines AONB Partnership (564kb PPS)
Wild Ennerdale - Gareth Browning, Forestry Commission (557kb
can tight conservation objectives allow change to happen? One example is
that English Nature is trying to give a flexible interpretation of SSSI
and SAC definitions. The flexibility of the Rural Development Scheme is
being tested in the Wild Ennerdale project
- It is
important to make progress on collecting baseline data and on
monitoring. The early stages of monitoring at Wild Ennerdale include use
of fixed-point photography
Wilding in the North Pennines will be led by public bodies and NGOs.
There are no incentives to encourage major landowners to pursue wilding
of their land
public bodies too driven by their available funds and overlooking the
need to raise funds for innovative projects like wild land?
not get bogged down in definitions – many new and ongoing initiatives
may have ingredients of wild land that can be developed. ‘Coastal
retreat’ is an example of a type of conservation endeavour which closely
relates to wild land
public bodies pursue wild land projects it is often helpful for staff to
be flexible and sometimes step outside the rule book. Given the range of
benefits from wild land projects this approach can be greatly beneficial
Wildland projects led by NGOs
Expanding the East of England’s fens - Martin Lester, National Trust
The wild potential of Mar Lodge - James Fenton, National trust for
Scotland (1,439kb PPS)
using herbivores for grazing management, how can their breeding numbers
be controlled, especially given the likely public concern at culling?”
(The Grazing Animals Project is working with welfare groups on this
Landowners and land managers are obliged to care for the welfare of
fenced livestock and herbivores
the presence of conservation bodies in the market for land inflate land
values? The National Trust will only pay the going market rate for land,
as assessed by the Cambs County valuer, when acquiring land for East of
England fenland restoration
- The NT
uses a long-term strategy for building and achieving the Wicken Fen
Wildland projects by
Rewilding West Sussex farmland: the Knepp Estate - Charlie Burrell (1,315kb
The Alladale Scottish Wilderness Project - Toby Aykroyd
are the reactions from neighbouring farmers? Be proactive
Farming on boulder clay (at Knepp, Sussex) is no longer economic. Some
neighbours not sold on this approach, others see it as a way forward.
One neighbour putting ‘toe in water’ to see how it goes
about dependancy on funding schemes eg. Single Farm Payment and
marketing meat? Wildmeat market is good, Knepp shoots 150 / 400 deer pa
land is more controlled than, say, Ostvarsdersplassen ie. percentage of
land under scrub/woodland and harvesting wild meat.
have been very helpful at Knepp
evidence is there that vegetation needs restoration, that sheep & deer
there such a thing as overgrazing?
acres to be fenced (proposed) at Alladale offers opportunity to see
fully functioning ecosystem – with family of carnivores: carrying
capacity: isolated populations
- It is
too small an area, it will not be a natural dynamic ecosystem
is first step only. A ‘worth it’ experiment
Electronic tagging will allow escapees to be caught.
Working with large herbivores means having to work with your neighbours
ie. taking down fences: resolving boundary issues
people’s psychology about wolves has nothing to do with ecology. Some
people think beavers are dangerous!
keep animals or people out. There are access issues; Public Rights of
Way etc. People/walkers anxious about ‘beasts’. Knepp is only ‘going
public’ now and needs to think about public relations and education, and
to build upon the open days it has had
- It has
been a nine year journey of change at Knepp. This gives time for
mindsets to change and for people not to feel threatened. Landowners are
wondering what to do with their land. Remember the 1920/30s when scrub,
rabbit and partridge came back.
Knepp’s main income is from cottages and units. How to make money from
the environment / land and stop farming?
Wildland projects led
by community groups
Trees, Dartmoor – Adam Griffin (462kb PPS)
The Carrifran Wildwood, Scottish Borders – Hugh Chalmers (805kb
boar at Carrifran yet - too scary, maybe later. Badgers disturb the
Volunteers can become key players (investing time and money).
Carrifran’s community of interest links all over the world
Ennerdale has not considered getting ‘supporters’ in this way yet.
Though Ennerdale does work with volunteers & has education programmes.
for Life are about re-establishing woodland and about enhancing the
local economy. No boar experience. Use pigs effectively on land after
Carrifran uses plant cell grown, not bare root, trees. Moor Trees plants
bare root, and now some cell grown, trees (organic).
All our examples show how
people can be part of wild landscape, have a stake.
Wilding must involve
people in an integral way – not keeping nature at arms length
don’t always need money eg. Isle of Staffa
Need to look at
national plan – must be flexible to accommodate local initiaitives
connect with re-building biodiversity networks
mapping potential encroachment on wildland – and priority areas
learning from Pan European lessons via EN
look at ancient woodland as a start point
creating woodland connecting corridors destroys moorland connectivity