Managing nature would be better than rewilding
I RECENTLY received a survey from the local wildlife trust. This seeks the views of the public on the muchpublicised rewilding concept.
I fear that the wildlife trusts are encouraging us to believe there is a practical case for the land to be simply left to rewild and for wildlife not seen in this country for hundreds of years to be reintroduced.
The suggested species include beavers, wolves and eagles, none of which has any controlling species above them, apart from humans.
Has woke think spread into the natural world?
We now live in a land dominated by us and this is much different to that which existed many decades ago.
We have destroyed the balance of nature and therefore must manage the natural world to help it achieve the vision that we have for it.
I, like most people, would like to see a greater diversity of native plants and a reversal of the decline in the population of our native wildlife, but this requires management of a type which many shy away from.
Chris Packham and his Wild Justice group even try (mostly unsuccessfully) to oppose this management in the courts.
When land is simply left to rewild, in most cases, it will be dominated by a group of plants, such as nettles, bracken, brambles, acers and even non-native species.
Similarly, if wildlife is left to its own devices it will be dominated by the predatory species such as foxes, stoats, magpies and crows.
To attain the natural world that most of us desire, it is not a case of rewilding but managing the resources we have better.
We need to encourage the growth of our scarce native plants and even allow the odd weed to grow, to provide bird food, but not let them dominate.
Similarly, in the animal world, we should not be wasting resources on reintroducing extinct species, but putting more effort into protecting the threatened species we have.
If we want more chaffinches and hedge sparrows in our gardens, we need to control the number of magpies; if we would like to see more song thrushes and hedgehogs we must stop using slug pellets; if we would like to see more lapwing and curlew in our fields we must control the number of foxes, stoats and crows; if we want to see more of our native grey squirrels we need to control the number of the non-native grey squirrel; if we want to see more water voles we need to control the number of mink.
The provision of wildlife-friendly habitat and the control of these harmful species is at present mostly provided by the country sports community, who are often vilified for the important work they do.
Let us stop talking about rewilding and start managing our wildlife better.
I note that many of the beavers released in Scotland have become a pest and are having to be culled.