What if nature reserves don’t work? – The Property Chronicle
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What if nature reserves don’t work? Dealing with a situation of decreasing biodiversity

The Farmer

Landscape with a row of trees and a rising sun and a grass field with fence on a misty morning

Farming in the UK needs nature reserves to work. The majority of biodiversity is conserved in protected landscapes, enabling conventional agriculture to have the dominant hand in the undesignated areas. However, increasing amounts of evidence are undermining this strategy. We are used to bad news for species in certain farmscapes, but a recently published survey from 88 nature reserves across Germany has revealed some shocking declines. The august Krefeld Entomological Society organised a total of 15249 trapping days between 1989 and 2014. Their results showed average weights of insects caught to have declined from an average of over 9g per day at the start to about 1g per day by 2014. This is a decline in the biomass of flying insects in excess of 80% in just 27 years, a statistic that also confirms the lack of bug splatter on the windscreens of our cars that is also causing concerns in the UK. Surveys carried out by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and, over an even longer period of time, by the Rothamsted scientists, show declines of around 40% in England in the ‘wider countryside’.

The Farmer

About Martin Hole

Martin Hole

Martin Hole farms at Montague on the wetlands of the Pevensey Levels in East Sussex. Part family-owned and part rented, the 300ha organic enterprise provides a home to about 150 cattle and nearly 2,000 head of sheep, with a small diversification into residential property and a fledgling green tourism business. A former RSPB UK Lapwing Champion, Martin remains fascinated by the provision of wilderness whilst trying to keep the farm intact for three daughters.

Articles by Martin Hole

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