Con­ser­va­tion re­port

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Contents - FIND OUT MORE Na­tional Parks re­view: gov.uk/gov­ern­ment/news/ na­tional-parks-re­view-launched

The south­ern Dar­win’s frog at risk of los­ing its rain­for­est habi­tat

S hould we im­prove the way we man­age our Na­tional Parks (NPs) for wildlife? That’s one thing a gov­ern­ment re­view of Eng­land’s most cher­ished land­scapes is ask­ing, as post-Brexit changes to the way farm­ing is sub­sidised come closer.

A re­port pub­lished by the Cam­paign for Na­tional Parks in June 2018 stated that, while our na­tional parks (and Ar­eas of Out­stand­ing Nat­u­ral Beauty) are im­por­tant for wildlife, they ‘are not buck­ing the na­tional trends of de­cline in species and the degra­da­tion of habi­tats.’

One idea sug­gested in the re­port was for au­thor­i­ties to iden­tify ar­eas within parks where ‘nat­u­ral pro­cesses sup­port more ro­bust, func­tional ecosys­tems’ – par­tial rewil­d­ing, in other words.

Der­byshire Wildlife Trust’s head of liv­ing land­scapes, Tim Birch, says he wants to see the Peak Dis­trict NP be­come much wilder, be­cause at the mo­ment it is clear that bio­di­ver­sity is not do­ing well.

“Look what they’ve done with the Wild En­nerdale project in the Lake Dis­trict, he says. “They’ve taken sheep off the hill, brought in cat­tle, re­moved fences and it’s hav­ing a re­ally pos­i­tive im­pact for wildlife.”

Birch goes on to say: “We think there’s a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity to link peo­ple to wilder places in our na­tional parks,” – and great op­por­tu­ni­ties for eco­tourism, which has been so suc­cess­ful in re­la­tion to species such as white-tailed ea­gles on Mull. James Fair

York­shire Dales NP is just one of 15 Na­tional Parks across the UK.

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