Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Managing wildlife loss in Devon

The State of Nature doesn't look too good:
Futures Forum: State of Nature: one year on ....... the Conference for Nature
Futures Forum: State of Devon's Nature

In Devon, there have been concerns about 'what to do with the Otter River beavers':
Futures Forum: On the River Otter: plans to remove beavers "may be illegal"

There has been discussion on what to do with 'brownfield sites':
Futures Forum: Of 'urban wildlife' and 'brownfield sites'...

There has been debate about how to improve biodiversity:
Futures Forum: Biodiversity in Sidmouth: "Is planting a million bulbs a 'good thing'?" ..................... a second take
Futures Forum: Biodiversity in East Devon

There have been efforts to preserve natural habitat:
Futures Forum: Devon County officers recommend Mutter's Moor and Fire Beacon Hill bridleways remain closed to traffic ... Committee meets 25th February
Futures Forum: Devonshire hedgerows and verges - pilot project

There has been substantial research undertaken into the Sid Valley's wildlife:
Futures Forum: Upcoming book on wildlife of the Sid Valley ... ... ... contributions welcome

The Sidmouth Arboretum has been very active in raising awareness about trees:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Arboretum: how to protect trees and woodland
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Arboretum > Annual Tree Day Sat 28th June

The Friends of the Byes have done a lot for biodiversity and promoting the looking after of wildlife:
Futures Forum: Wild Flowers and Front Gardens in Sidmouth
Futures Forum: A talk on "the bee-friendly garden" - at the Friends of the Byes AGM - 6pm Thursday 23rd January
Futures Forum: Friends of the Byes: sponsor a tree
Futures Forum: Sid Meadow in July: third year in flower

But is this enough? In the latest edition of Shared Planet on Radio 4, Monty Don interviewed several of those in the field - including Exeter University's Prof Kevin Gaston:

Are We Getting Used to Less Wildlife?

First broadcast: Tuesday 23 September 2014

The diversity and abundance of wildlife is declining across the world. As people grow older they notice the changes but for each new generation the baseline is reset. Is each generation is getting used to living with less and less wildlife? With so many other distractions do young people today notice the wildlife around them? Monty Don explores whether shifting baselines are a problem for conservation or simply inevitable in a system already subject to natural fluctuations.

Professor Kevin Gaston

Kevin Gaston is the inaugural Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and Professor of Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Exeter.

The ESI conducts cutting-edge research into solutions to problems of environmental change, thereby enhancing people’s lives through improving their relationships with the environment. It has staff drawn from a variety of backgrounds - including mathematicians, engineers and environmental, political and social scientists - reflecting the need for an interdisciplinary approach to such solutions.

An ecologist with diverse interests, a major strand of Gaston’s research is concerned with the health and well-being benefits that people gain from natural environments. This program of work includes determining the breadth and form of these benefits, the components of nature that provide them, the dynamics of this provision, and how the provision can most effectively be improved.

Twitter: @KevinJGaston

Professor Aubrey Manning, OBE

Professor Aubrey Manning is recognised as one of the country’s leading authorities on animal behaviour.

He rose from Assistant Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh to become a Professor of Natural History at the university in 1971, a position he retained until retirement in 1997.

Manning's storytelling skills have led to him presenting television programmes such as BBC2’s Earth Story and Talking Landscapes and he has worked on a range of radio output including recent Radio 4 programme The Sounds of Life, in which he explores natural sounds ranging from the seabed to the jungle.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, holds honorary degrees from Toulouse, the Open University and St.Andrews, and was awarded an OBE in 1998. He has been Chairman of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and a Trustee of the National Museums of Scotland and Project Wallacea.

George Monbiot

George Monbiot is an environmental campaigner, a regular columnist for the Guardian newspaper and the author of several best selling books, includingHeat: How we can stop the Planet Burning, The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. His latest book is Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding

Twitter: @GeorgeMonbiot

Professor EJ Milner-Gulland

Professor E.J. Milner-Gullandworks on improving the design of conservation interventions so that they work better for both poor people and wildlife in developing countries.

She is the Director of Imperial College's Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment (GCEE) initiative and runs the Imperial College Conservation Science (ICCS) research group.

ICCS works at the interface of social and ecological systems, using a range of approaches to address key issues in current conservation. The underlying philosophy is that in order to make progress the incentives, pressures and challenges faced by individual decision-makers must be considered.

Twitter: @EJMilnerGulland

BBC Radio 4 - Shared Planet, Are We Getting Used to Less Wildlife?

Meanwhile, reports confirm the huge loss internationally:
Indicators and Assessments Unit | Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

HALF the world's wild animals have disappeared in 40 years: 

Humankind held responsible for plummet in figures as report reveals the US needs 3.9 planets to sustain current lifestyle
Mankind's need for land and resources, combined with hunting and poaching, are causing our wild animals to die out
Wildlife populations around the globe have declined by 52 per cent on average since 1970, a new report has found
The likes of forest elephants, African lions and tigers are under threat, as well as American sharks
Lion numbers dropped 90% in 40 years, tigers by 97% in 100 years and elephants 60% since 2002, WWF reported


PUBLISHED: 03:13, 30 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:11, 30 September 2014

From the forest elephants of Africa, to India’s tigers and even our own great white sharks, wildlife is losing the battle for survival all over the world.

Human activity has been blamed for the plummet in numbers, as the United States reports dwindling populations of bumblebees and polar bears - and one of the world's biggest decreases in sealife.

Our ever-growing need for land and resources, coupled with hunting and poaching, has halved the number of wild animals in world in just 40 years, according to a shocking report.

The Living Planet Report by WWF and the Zoological Society of London has found that wildlife populations around the globe have declined by 52 per cent on average since 1970.

The authors compiled data on 10,380 animal populations, including 3,038 different species, as an index to judge how global wildlife is faring as a whole.

In the US, fish have decreased by 83 per cent between 1970 and 2010 - the second largest drop after Latin America which lost 86 per cent in the same period. American amphibians have also struggled in the modern world, with an overall decline of 73 per cent recorded, while the total number of reptiles dropped by 48 per cent nationwide. The great white shark is one of the United States' worst-affected species, having lost around 50 per cent of its population in just 20 years, largely due to oil spills in the ocean.

The number of rusty-patched bumblebees - crucial pollinators - haven disappeared from 87 per cent of their territory in the past 25 years, and monarch butterflies are down 90 per cent in the same period.

The global picture is worst for freshwater creatures such as amphibians, river fish and mammals, with average population declines of 76 per cent between 1970 and 2010, says the latest data available.

Land-dwelling animals declined by 39 per cent over the same period and sea creatures fell 39 per cent, the report found.

The authors said the main threats to wildlife are loss or damage to their habitat and exploitation through hunting and fishing.

They also warned that humans are using resources faster than the planet can provide, cutting down forests too quickly, overfishing and pumping out pollution faster than the world can cope with it.

Around 3.9 planets-worth of land and resources would be needed to sustain the typical American lifestyle as it is today for an extended period of time.

Kuwaitis had the biggest ecological footprint, meaning they consume and waste more resources per head than any other nation, the report said, followed by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. America came eighth in the list, behind Denmark, Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, and Singapore.

Professor Ken Norris, director of science at Zoological Society of London (ZSL), said: ‘The scale of biodiversity loss and damage to the very ecosystems that are essential to our existence is alarming. This damage is not inevitable, but a consequence of the way we choose to live.’

David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK, said: ‘The scale of destruction highlighted in this report should be a wake-up call to us all. We all have an interest, and a responsibility, to act to ensure we protect what we all value: a healthy future for both people and nature.
Mr Nussbaum said consumers could reduce their impact on wildlife by choosing products which were sustainable, for example fish with the Marine Stewardship Council and timber with the Forest Stewardship Council certifications. He said that they could also look at reducing their meat and dairy consumption.

Professor Jonathan Baillie, director of conservation programmes at ZSL, said people should think about everything they do, from recycling to putting pressure on political and industry leaders, and getting their children outside to reconnect with nature.

HALF the world's wild animals have disappeared in 40 years say WWF | Daily Mail Online
BBC News - World wildlife populations halved in 40 years - report
Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF | Environment | The Guardian
Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF - Claire Wright

See also:
Futures Forum: New habitats, old habitats
Futures Forum: Environmental Economics
Futures Forum: "Ordinary people are reluctant to put wildlife ahead of immediate financial self-interest."
Futures Forum: Biodiversity and offsetting nightingales

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