Clive Faulkner from Montgomery Wildlife Trust

Packed evening at the Keys this week, thanks Darren Mayor for the pic

Momentum seems to be gathering at the BRACE meetings. We are currently holding 2 meetings per month, 2nd and 4th Thursday each month, usually one involves a speaker coming to inform us on a particular subject and the other we discuss general business then go into topic groups where we are working on several initiatives.

These include Repair cafe, Community Compost, Heritage Orchard, Roadside Verges and next up a community gardening hub. More on that later. Clive’s talk was fascinating, alarming and very in line with the understanding we have formed about the degree of emergency we should be feeling and how we should be acting in the light of these facts.

Our landscape is frozen in time, it has not been allowed to breathe, to move around, species have been fragmented and trapped and now with climate change there is great pressure for species to move around to find more suitable habitats. Field boundaries haven’t changed in 500 years, you can look back on old maps and seem the same field shapes. As agriculture farms more and more to the edges these reservoirs of biodiversity are also being eroded into.

We need to think in corridors, in pathways, to create a permeable landscape. Species need to move around, to reconnect and allowed to move much more freely. Looking to river banks, railway sidings and verges we realise that many pathways are there and with strategic management we can link together wilder area, habitat rich area and allow a much better movement of our remaining wildlife.

A wild un-managed landscape would form a patchwork, a constantly shift pattern of dense forestation, clearings, pathways, floods and fire and the action of large mammals opens up new spaces and allow the biological succession to happen. With most of the large mammals removed and one we do have contained in rye pastures none of this mosaic of diversity is functioning in a way it will have done for thousands of years. Add to this the stress of ever more pressure on the landscape and a changing climate and we find our self balanced on a knife edge. Many insights into what we must do and how we can manage the land we have access to in way that opens up niches and allows for a much freer movement for all our species.

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