FRESH AP­PROACHES

Geographical - - WEL­COME -

We’re all more than aware that the nat­u­ral world is in trou­ble. But too much aware­ness can spell ap­a­thy. One of the big­gest chal­lenges for en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, re­searchers (and jour­nal­ists!) is to find a way to con­tinue cov­er­ing bad news with­out turn­ing the pub­lic off. Some­times, find­ing a new way to present the prob­lem can help. In this month’s dossier, Mark Rowe turns his at­ten­tion to de­clines in the bird world. Many of the num­bers are hor­ri­fy­ing, but what’s par­tic­u­larly notable is that some of our most com­mon and well-loved bids are un­der as much pres­sure as many of the rarer and flashier species we hear most about. A world with­out the en­er­getic spar­rows of English gar­dens, or the red-breasted robin, seems a truly sad world in­deed.

Of course, an­other way to boost in­ter­est is to high­light good news and fo­cus on what can be done. The term ‘rewil­d­ing’ has be­come some­what con­tro­ver­sial in re­cent years but, lin­guis­tics aside, there is no doubt that in­di­vid­ual projects are trans­form­ing pock­ets of land. More than 60 rewil­d­ing ini­tia­tives are cur­rently tak­ing place across Europe and, as Ja­cob Dykes finds out on page 34, its pro­po­nents are work­ing hard to over­come the chal­lenges of re­turn­ing large an­i­mals to a crowded Euro­pean land­scape. Rein­tro­duc­ing wolves, bears and lynx is far from easy (for one thing farm­ers and live­stock need pro­tect­ing), but only by em­brac­ing some of the car­ni­vores that once called this con­ti­nent home can we em­brace a health­ier ecosys­tem.

Fi­nally, we’d love you to take a look at our new ‘geo-graphic’ on page 50 – an­other new way of pre­sent­ing in­for­ma­tion to keep our read­ers en­gaged.

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