‘Twinning’ groups of high-yield farms with clusters of land-sparers

Increasing crop yields on existing farmland will not necessarily lead to as much land-sparing as one might expect, although it could lead to at least some. One way to increase land-sparing might be to 'twin' a number of dispersed high-yield farms with a cluster of contiguous land holders wishing to 'spare' habitat for nature (both …

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Even the boss of Shell calls for massive and urgent reforestation to beat dangerous climate change

The boss of climate-change-inducing oil company Shell says ''..huge tree-planting project the size of the Amazon rainforest would be needed to meet a tougher global warming target'', as he argued more renewable energy alone would not be enough. Much of this reforestation ought to be in the tropics - Sumatra, the Andes, etc - but …

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Eemian Rewilding: from Rhys Lemoine

Rhys Lemoine from the Pleistocene Rewilding and Wildlife Conservation Facebook group has posted the following thoughts about what constitutes a useful baseline for rewilding going forward, given current and projected climatic changes and habitats. I agree with him. Eemian Rewilding When we think about the Pleistocene, and by extension Pleistocene Rewilding, we tend to think …

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A Natural Areas Stewardship Scheme

As I've written here, I see Natural Areas - large, intact semi-natural landscapes - as being assembled through private-public-community partnerships. That's farmers, public landowners, communities and the charity sector working together to deliver benefits from our countryside, with substantial public support because the public stand to gain. This isn't land abandonment or a response to …

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Were aurochsen numbers determined by food or predators?

I had an interesting e.exchange with a UK conservation researcher a while ago about whether the European aurochs population density was likely to have been top-down controlled by predators or bottom-up controlled by food supply. Or maybe a bit of both depending on the specifics of a given landscape, pack size of wolves etc? We'll never …

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Rewilding, lynx and the fate of open habitats

Will open habitats and sun-loving species of conservation concern persist within rewilding areas if we remove domestic grazers and browsers and fail to reintroduce lost wild grazers and browsers or suitable surrogates? I think that failure to recognise the risks to open habitats posed by 'light-weight rewilding' in 'half-empty landscapes' could be profoundly damaging to …

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Carbon Capture and Storage in Natural Areas

Growing vegetation absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in biomass. As such, natural habitats provide a highly efficient Carbon Capture and Storage technology, one landowners could potentially derive income from if we can establish a scheme that pays them for the carbon sequestration benefits they deliver. Internationally, efforts have been underway for some time …

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Dr Tony Whitten

It's very sad to hear that Dr Tony Whitten, a hugely effective conservation practitioner, has died following an accident while cycling through Cambridge. After a long career as a senior biodiversity specialist with the World Bank, Tony returned to the UK to work at Fauna & Flora International at the David Attenborough Building. http://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/cambridge/tributes-flood-in-after-cambridge-wildlife-conservationist-dr-tony-whitten-is-killed-in-collision-while-cycling-1-5309610

Rivers systems as critical natural infrastructure

River systems in the UK have been used and abused for centuries. Much of the damage has been undertaken in an effort to create yet more space for low-yield agriculture. Yet many UK rivers and their floodplains are rather narrow, produce very little food, and could produce far greater benefits if we stepped back and allowed …

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