Reindeer

There were reindeer here in Britain in large numbers around the time of the last ice age, 35,000 to 50,000 years ago. There were wild herds of reindeer in Scotland right up until the 13th century when, like so many of our large native herbivores, they were hunted to extinction.

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Real or fake?

A lot of people buy artificial Christmas trees in the belief that it benefits the environment, but environmentalists and energy analysts disagree. We need only look at a single element of the hundreds of thousands of artificial trees that will be put up and decorated this Christmas: they are all made of plastic.

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Lambrok Stream by numbers

David Feather’s post yesterday highlighted the problems that planning application 20/00379/OUT will create for Lambrok Stream. The access road for the planned development will have to cross the stream and, no matter how many changes are made to the design of the bridge, we do not see how that can be done without damage to the Lambrok’s biodiversity.

Here are some relevant numbers:

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The return of neonicotinoids

On 1st September 2020, the EU’s ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides came into effect but investigators have found that eight EU countries and the UK have since exported neonicotinoids to other nations with weaker environmental regulations. These are unacceptable double standards: the companies that produce these dangerous chemicals are prioritising their profits at the expense of our environment.

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Cop 26 does not appear to have reached an agreement that will limit global heating to 1.5°C. The really frightening thing is that we all know what has to be done but the people who make the decisions are not listening to us.
Here is Sir David Attenborough on the simple matter of saving our planet:

Occasionally, while we are clearing the undergrowth in the reserve’s copses, we find the secret places, among the ivy and blackthorn, where somebody has hidden their plastic bags full of dog poop.

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Migration changes

Analysis of records kept since 1964 has found that some species of European migratory birds are spending up to 60 days less each year in their sub-Saharan wintering grounds. Over the most recent 27-year period, migratory birds, including the whitethroats commonly seen in our reserve, were found to have increased their time in Europe by an average of 16 days. It has even been suggested that some species may stop flying south for the winter altogether.

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Deforestation

The Environment Bill, still making it’s way through Parliament, is proposing deforestation-free supply chains. Here is a post from last year about the consequences of business -driven deforestation in the Amazon Basin.

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More about the otters in Lambrok Stream

Simon Tesler’s video of an otter hunting in the moat at Southwick Court is powerful evidence not only of Lambrok Stream’s biodiversity, but its importance as a wildlife corridor that runs from the River Biss right up through and beyond Southwick village.

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Eco-gardening

Challenges such as climate change, habitat destruction and invasive species are pushing our native ecosystems to the edge, making urban and suburban spaces into critical resources. There are 22 million private gardens in the UK, an astonishing potential that, used carefully, might just make the difference between success and failure for the Nature Recovery Networks proposed by the new Environment Bill.

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“Nature is our home”

At the beginning of the year the UK Treasury commissioned and published for the very first time a full assessment of the economic importance of nature. Professor Dasgupta, the Cambridge University economist who carried out the assessment, concluded that our prosperity has come at “devastating cost” to the ecosystems that support us. “Nature is our home,” he said, “good economics demands we manage it better.”

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The whole thing

 “It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for – the whole thing – rather than just one or two stars.”   David Attenborough

Our park doesn’t have snow leopards or white rhinos. Our rarities are small and fragile: water voles, pondweeds, dragonflies zipping past so suddenly they make you jump, a visiting marsh tit, a linnet singing in the trees, little bottom-feeding fish. Then there are the hundreds of flowering plants, thousands of invertebrates and probably tens of thousands of species of fungi hidden away where we can’t see them.

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Cats

Usually we would welcome predators into the reserve; they are a sign of a healthy ecosystem. We have resident stoats and weasels, foxes and badgers and are happy to know that our ecosystem can support them. Domestic cats, like this one photographed early in the morning in the woods in Village Green, are a very different proposition.

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