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Exclusive timelapse: See climate change, deforestation and urban sprawl unfold as Earth evolves over 30 years.
Landscape scale ecological restoration has come of age with schemes blossoming across Britain and Europe. The work of The Wildlife Trusts has been celebrated recently by Mike McFarlane.
However, Google and Time magazine have just published a seminal study of the unmaking of healthy ecological networks at the global level.
The Time and Space iniitiative has used cutting-edge IT to build time-lapse images showing the fragmentation and degradation of ecosystems at the global level.
|| These Timelapse pictures tell the pretty and not-so-pretty story of a finite planet and how its residents are treating it — razing even as we build, destroying even as we preserve. It takes a certain amount of courage to look at the videos, but once you start, it’s impossible to look away. Jeffrey Kluger ||
It will be many years before sequences showing the reconstrution of connected healthy ecosystems can be assembled - if we have the will to undo the damage that this amazing study has revealed in such a graphic way.
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The New English Landscape, psychogeography
Refresh your spirit:-
||This blog is a forum to bring together, promote and discuss themes, subject matter and marginalia of all kinds relating to landscape, topography and sense of place.||
17 years into the making, the Australian garden, winner of the ‘Landscape of the Year Award’ at the prestigious World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards 2013, designed by Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) with Paul Thompson is a garden of...
Thinking about living landscapes and people realised on a monumental scale in Melbourne with a stunning horticultural interpretation of Australia:-
||The completion of the Australian garden situated within the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne on the south-eastern outskirts of Melbourne, Australia, comes at a time when botanic gardens world-wide are questioning existing research and recreational paradigms and re-focussing on new messages of landscape conservation and a renewed interest in meaningful visitor engagement.||
The National Trust launches its "most ambitious" Peak District conservation project, in an attempt to repair decades of damage to High Peak Moors.
Open moorland does not work for George Monbiot (I am currently reading his lyrical and challenging book Feral on my tablet) but it does characterise large areas of upland Britain and drive conservation effort across many parts of the UK.
The National Trust has a huge challenge ahead in delivering its 50 year plan. Will it engage Monbiot and seek his views how to rewild the Peak District and let nature find its own way?
Rare sand lizards have been released on sand dunes in North Wales in a bid to revive ailing populations.
Will the sand lizard population survive and thrive in the sand dunes of Flintshire.
||Seventy Sand Lizard juveniles have been released on the Flintshire coast and a total of 400 will be reintroduced through the week to sites in Merseyside, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset.
The sand lizards were bred at 10 specialist breeding centres, including Chester Zoo, over the summer.
The animals have suffered dramatic declines due to habitat loss.
Native populations now only remain in Merseyside, Surrey, and Dorset but even in these areas populations have dropped by 90% or more.||
Find out how to ID our native reptiles
Watch Bill Oddie get up close with our 'big six' reptiles
Meet the lightning-fast lizard posing as a slow worm
The reintroductions are co-ordinated by the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC Trust) as part of a recovery programme that has been running since 1994.
Sand lizards only live on coastal dunes and heathland habitats, both of which have become increasingly fragmented through agriculture, housing and leisure developments.
A leading wildlife group says it is disappointed as plans to build a £280m race track in Blaenau Gwent are approved by local councillors.
It is a grim irony that on the day that Managing the land in a changing climate makes the recommendation that "There are low-regret opportunities to make the natural capital of this country more resilient to climate change" including peat based carbon storage and more sensitive management of water resources, Gwent Wildlife Trust is confronted with a planning proposal that would do the opposite..
Cjhief Executive Tom Clarke:-
"Our main concern is the loss of habitat, and the impact that will have.
"There will be the loss of enormous peat reserves, and that has an important role to play in carbon storage.
"It is disappointing, particularly when you realise the great tragedy is you are taking an area that is offsetting carbon emissions, and turning it into an area that will generate carbon emissions."
Sir David Attenborough, an iconic figure of British wildlife documentary films, has opened the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park on the site of waste infrastructure company, Cory Environmental’s restored landfill site at Mucking, Essex
Whilst we still 'throw things away' landfill sites will remain part of our wasteful cultural landscape. Restoring these sites to nature is a challenge that the waste management industry has risen to. Cory are to be congratulated on their vision.
It is heartening to see vision and imagination turning industrial land into a nature rich site that will develop long term environmental value.
Click on the images below to open 3D interactive panoramas of our Living Landscapes - places where Wildlife Trusts are targeting landscape-scale conservation efforts and working with partners to secure nature's recovery. Each panorama opens in a new window when you click on it. All photography by Mike McFarlane unless othe
Grab an eyeful of what makes the British Isles such a magical place.
The Dorset Wildlife Trust West Dorset living landscape project has been featured in a ground-breaking 360 degree virtual tour by award-winning photographer...
Wildlife Trusts are achieiving great things for nature across the UK by thinking big and joining up nature conservation programmes and natural jewels.
|| Nick Gray, West Dorset Conservation Officer from Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “We have been focusing our efforts on landscape-scale conservation in partnership with farmers and landowners for several years. Mike’s stunning panoramic views and virtual tours will help people to visualise where we are working and what we’re up to, as well as the scale and scope of our Living Landscape initiatives.”||
Only a few years remain to protect natural areas in our communities.
Whilst nature and land management issues in British Columbia may be a size up from UK nature conservation this theme remains constant; the need to ensure that we remain connected to nature that is a valued part of our cities, towns and villages.
"In the 1990s, British Columbia doubled the park system by setting aside millions of hectares, mostly in remote areas. Today's challenge is to bring that kind of effort closer to home, protecting natural areas in the communities where we live: the neighbourhood stream, the town's favourite meadow, the city's beloved beach, the forest where children play after school."
Cornwall is home to some of the richest marine wildlife from tiny rare colourful corals to giant basking sharks, but our seas urgently need protecting.
Of course for us terrestrial apes it is easy to forget that half the planet is covered with salty water. Imaginative marine conservation programmes such as that run by Cornwall Wildlife Trust are great examples of how to protect our seas for the future.
Evidence from CPRE branches across England demonstrates that there is a growing threat to our most important landscapes from inappropriate development...
CPRE call to arms:-
We are calling on the Government to:
Most children in Wales do not feel connected to nature, according to a study carried out by a wildlife charity.
I would amend that to most children do not connect with nature.
|The UK-wide report comes as a result of the RSPB's growing concerns that generations of young people have little or no contact with the natural world - something they say is one of the biggest threats to nature in Wales.||
Declines in farmland wildlife can be reversed if people can be convinced to conserve what they have, says Katrina Candy
Katrina Candy is media and education officer at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Scotland.:-
"We know that the three ingredients of habitat, predator control and food source makes for the best environment for grey partridges, but how do we fit their needs into an already over-crowded, small island where the countryside is under huge pressure to produce food?
Knitting-together of production and conservation
Nature conservation must adapt and develop just as agriculture has. New ideas must be explored to encompass biodiversity needs while retaining viable rural businesses.
Landscape-scale approaches should be embraced and the bigger picture for Scotland’s wildlife realised before we lament the demise of not just the Scottish greys but a host of other species.
A knitting-together of production and conservation has to occur on a larger scale if we are not to witness the unravelling of our natural heritage.
Our grey partridge demonstration project at Whitburgh Farms in Midlothian is seeking answers to the partridge puzzle"
Frederick Steiner, Mark Simmons, Mark Gallagher, Janet Ranganathan, and Colin Robertson 2013. The ecological imperative for environmental design and planning. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11: 355–361.
Ecological common sense for designers and planners
Abstract of abstract:-
As form follows function in nature, so should environmental design and planning follow nature to create buildings, infrastructure, landscapes, cities, and regions that function more sustainably
Currently, environmental design and planning professionals have limited capacity to apply ecological principles to their work
Ecologically inspired design can be justified in terms of improved function, economic gain, and marketability
Resilience offers a unifying framework for teaching environmental design and planning as well as ecology
Real-world strategies, such as improving urban resilience to the impacts of natural disasters, provide opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation
Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/full/10.1890/130052
Historic Woodhall Spa base in Lincolnshire, home to 617 Squadron after the Ruhr raids, currently a derelict sand and gravel quarry
Great imagination from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust who seek to recreate the kind of rural heritage that motivated so many folk during the bitter period of the Second World War. It is worth remembering that the most fundamental changes to legislation affecting planning, land management and built heritage conservation came in the late 1940s at a time when the true value of the British life was brought into sharp focus by war time deprivations. We should not forget what makes the British isles so fantastically rich in wildlife in our rush for wealth and materialistic ephemera.
Corn Belt agriculture should not be putting all its eggs in one basket. That may be an important message from last year's drought and the wet-dry extremes of the current growing season.
It makes common sense but will farmers respond to the climate signals? - Greater diversification can reduce erosion and improve water quality while creating jobs and protecting farm income from the boom-bust cycle. Increased diversification can result in a better, more sustainable system.
Climate change is now making news in the DesMoinesRegister:-
Corn Belt agriculture should not be putting all its eggs in one basket. That may be an important message from last year’s drought and the wet-dry extremes of the current growing season.
Steps toward a more diversified agriculture are likely to become more urgent as weather patterns become more erratic and volatile. Diversification is going to become more necessary as weather and climate change affects traditional corn-soybean rotations.
Doesn’t sound quite right does is it – the call of the re-wild? It does to George Monbiot whose new book Feral is making waves with wildlife conservation thinkers and farmers alike.
George Monbiot is right to challenge conventions in land managment; be they nature conservation or farming.
His Newsnight piece makes great viewing.
Multi-nation effort is a test of scientific diplomacy.
Nature does not respect political boundaries; even Wallace's realms cross international frontiers. However, if we are to live with the wildlife and wild forces of our planet we must learn to work and think in different ways.
CoCoNet may be a geophysics monitoring network, but it shows that thinking at ecosystem level means crossing boundaries - political, geographic and disciplinary.
It is great to see one of the ideas that I worked on with the amazing Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust team come to fruition - Living Gardens. To see just how significant an opportunity wildllife gardening offers to create major nature spaces in our towns and cities just look at Google Earth. Imagine all those parks, green spaces and gardens managed with nature in mind!
Through a new programme called ‘Living Gardens’ the Trust is providing help and advice on how you can make your garden more wildlife friendly.
The Portal for the Conservation of Africa's Flora and Fauna - ACF works to preserve Africa's wildlife by supporting, linking and conducting conservation projects throughout the continent.
Landscape scale nature conservation, the understanding of ecosystem services and the economic dimension of valuing nature sometimes seen academic and distant. This study shows just how connected we are to the natural world around us.
|| "The research identifies the coupled nature of humans, animals, and the natural environment across landscapes, even those designated as protected," said Kathleen Alexander, an associate professor of wildlife in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and Environment. "With few new antibiotics on the horizon, wide-scale antibiotic resistance in wildlife across the environment presents a critical threat to human and animal health. As humans and animals exchange microorganisms, the threat of emerging disease also increases." ||
A unique photographic panoramic record of landscapes in the UK by award-winning photographer Mike McFarlane, cycling 5,903 miles promote nature conservation
Living Landscapes across the UK are being enlivened by Wildlife Trusts and their partners.The Heritage Lottery Fund promotes landscape scale working and supporting imaginative programmes across the four nations. Here in my home county of Gloucestershire there are four programmes underway and including the successful Cotswold Rivers programme