Wild Thing?


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Presentation to Wild Thing? conference, Sheffield, Sept 2015

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  • Series of photos here showing historical developments from early man to industrial revolution
  • Wild Thing?

    1. 1. …from idea to reality Steve Carver
    2. 2. A funny thing happened to me in the pub one day…
    3. 3. The English (French) 52 card deck
    4. 4. The Lombard/Tuscan 40 card deck
    5. 5. The Palaeolithic 60-64 card deck?
    6. 6. Exterminated! Homo sapiens tweedicus x10
    7. 7. Human impact on land cover Our land in the making (Ladybird Books, 1966) Palaeolithic nomads Neolithic settlers Forest clearance for agriculture Changing climate
    8. 8. Manorial system Land enclosure Rotation farming Intensification of agriculture and concentration of land ownership Introduction of sheep grazing and simplification of ecosystems (Foundation of the monasteries, Tudor Vermin Laws, etc.)
    9. 9. The industrial revolution The railways The motorcar Industrialisation and rural depopulation Increased access, agri-intensification and management of uplands for sporting interests
    10. 10. “Wilder By Design” • Looking back… what did we learn? – The importance of culturally mediated landscapes? – How grazing with domestic livestock maintains biodiversity? – How nature can’t survive without our benevolent guiding hand? • “...at pains to point out how giving nature a free hand will destroy the heritage landscapes ...of veteran trees in wood-pasture landscapes, of ancient peat cuttings on sheep-wrecked moors, of coppiced woodlands or lowland heath - all of them man-made landscapes” (Carver, 2014: ECOS, p.10-11) “...change happens; get over it!”
    11. 11. The Six Rules of Re(al)wilding 1. Don't confuse biodiversity and culturally mediated landscapes with wildness and naturalness 2. Nature can exist and thrive without our constant intervention 3. Natural succession should be the FCS for rewilding projects 4. Work towards a continuum of approaches 5. Work towards a continuum of landscapes 6. Think big and think bold (Carver, 2014: ECOS, p.12-14)
    12. 12. Scar Close – ungrazed for 40 years Southerscales – under HLS funded grazing
    13. 13. “Imagine a Britain where you can find yourself in richly wild places once more, where no one needs to go abroad to find nature at its best. Where people’s passion for the natural world is reignited and where local communities can again thrive through new sources of income and employment that work both economically and ecologically.”
    14. 14. The vision… • Rewilding Britain plans to make that happen by: – creating a positive environmental movement that excites and inspires people and gives nature a chance to regenerate at a landscape scale. – Our vision for rewilding is both ambitious and long-term. • By 2030 we want to see at least 300,000 hectares of core land areas and three marine areas established where nature is starting to take care of itself and key species are starting to be re-established. • These areas will be ecologically connected into a more wildlife-friendly landscape and supported by an engaged, enthused and educated public.
    15. 15. Supporting arguments • Wildlife: Britain has lost 77% of its key wildlife species over the last 40 years (RSPB, 2013)…if we allow natural processes to return our wildlife and habitats can return in abundance. • Environmental: flood mitigation, stabilisation of water tables, improved water quality, carbon sequestration and resilience to climate change • Economic: income and employment from nature tourism, recreation and similar enterprises can provide new livelihoods in remote areas where there a few alternatives. • Social: access to wilderness and wild areas can facilitate a range of projects of relevance to social issues such as youth development, youth at risk and psychological healthcare •
    16. 16. The next 3 years • To achieve our vision, two clear objectives have emerged from our consultation process which create a coherent and mutually-reinforcing framework for change. • These objectives are: – Objective 1: Engaging People - raising awareness and inspiring a movement for change – Objective 2: Rewilding Landscapes - catalysing ecosystem restoration in practice •
    17. 17. Objective 1: Engaging People • Outcome by 2018: Rewilding is increasingly seen by decision-makers, land owners/managers and the wider public as an accepted, inspiring and viable approach which can bring environmental, economic and social benefits to Britain • Proposed Activities: – 1.1. Hold a creative communication workshop – 1.2. Understand current opinion and research key messages – 1.3. Develop a Rewilding Britain website – 1.4. Produce and disseminate innovative communication/media materials – 1.5. Organise a high profile Rewilding conference/launch event (late 2015/early 2016) • •
    18. 18. Objective 2: Rewilding Landscapes • Outcome by 2018: At least one large-scale rural rewilding project and one smaller-scale project close to a major city which demonstrate the principles and practice of rewilding are being developed • Proposed Activities: – 2.1 Produce visually rich maps of the potential for rewilding – 2.2 Identify rewilding pilot projects with highest potential – 2.3 Monitor and propose changes to policies and legislation – 2.4 Research the ecological and socio-economic benefits of rewilding (Sept 2015 to Feb 2016) •
    19. 19. http://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk
    20. 20. The challenge… • Address the barriers to rewilding – Land ownership and the politics of vested interests – Subsidy culture and environmental payments – Nostalgia and shifting baselines – Accept change and work together • Need a continuum of approaches and continuum of landscapes… “bigger, better, more joined up” • Bottom up meets top down
    21. 21. “It isn't fear that drives us to extinguish fearsome beasts, but once they are gone, it's fear that keeps us from bringing them back.” J.B.MacKinnon (2014) The Once and Future World p.255