Bombs and bio­di­ver­sity

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Your Feedback -

I was in­ter­ested in the Sal­is­bury Plain ar­ti­cle (Wildlife in a War Zone, April 2018), be­cause it brought back to me mem­o­ries of my vis­its in the late 1990s to the gar­risons at Falling­bostel and Hohne in Ger­many when I was a Ter­ri­to­rial Army (TA) padre. In the sur­round­ing area (a part of Lüneb­urg Heath) were the ranges used by the Bri­tish Army for live ar­tillery and tank fir­ing. We were pre­par­ing the process of hand­ing back the area to the lo­cal com­mu­nity and a series of pub­lic lec­tures re­vealed that the Heath was thriv­ing.

Ex­perts con­cluded the pres­ence and ac­tiv­i­ties of the Army had pre­served and en­hanced an im­por­tant wildlife habi­tat, with some in­sects and plants re­turn­ing after decades of ab­sence, not to men­tion the in­creased sight­ings of birds.

The big con­cern fac­ing the lo­cal author­ity was what would hap­pen when the ranges were handed back, as the only hu­man im­pact had been that of the shells. The task fac­ing con­ser­va­tion­ists was how were they go­ing to en­sure that this pre­cious habi­tat would not be lost.

Un­for­tu­nately, I have not been able to re­turn to the area since re­tir­ing from the TA in 2000. How­ever, my daugh­ter and fam­ily live out­side Frank­furt so hope­fully I may be able to visit in the near fu­ture and see just how the Heath is far­ing. John Thom­son, via email

Fea­tures ed­i­tor Ben Hoare replies: I’m glad you en­joyed the fea­ture. Many other MoD sites are good for wildlife, in­clud­ing Lul­worth Ranges in Dorset and Castle­martin Train­ing Area in Wales.

Army ranges can make great wildlife habi­tats for a range of species.

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