Current conservation practice – not fit for purpose, why might that be?

It is an undeniable fact that as a nation, or even across the globe, we are largely failing to look after the Natural World. With this in mind, here is a chance to engage in conversation about conservation. What do you believe to be the biggest reasons for the demise of many wildlife species*.

To kick things off, please would you be so kind to participate in a poll, as laid out below. Please vote for the options which you consider are the most relevant. You are allowed to supply multiple answers, should you wish. In turn, I will let you know my thoughts and will search for appropriate topics to comment on in the future of this blog.

Best Wishes


naturestimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell on Google+

*as evidenced by the State of Nature report, see below.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/science/stateofnature/index.aspx

http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/news/2013/05/22/state-nature-60-uk-species-decline-groundbreaking-study-finds

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/22609000

18 thoughts on “Current conservation practice – not fit for purpose, why might that be?

    1. Many Thanks for the comment and your like pushed me to my 200 likes landmark. It might not sound like much, but every one means something for this rather introvert man.

    1. Population pressures undoubtedly, are to be added to the mix, as they are in nature itself. One example, being a lack of sandeels for our Puffins, at the time of breeding, in certain seasons. I suspect there are other answers we should also address. Perhaps, I will do an updated version of the poll in time.

  1. I’m a moron sometimes. I can’t get to your poll on my phone… will go when on PC.
    But to chime in on the conversation, I agree that population needs to back down, invasive species removed from native areas and more protected areas like forest preserves have to happen. Pesticide use and Monsanto have to be eliminated! OMG, don’t get me started! :-\

      1. OK! Just voted! I only left 2 unchecked – Predator/prey as I feel there’s almost always something (or someone!) to eat. I still don’t believe that US humans are responsible for climate or climate change. I like to use this analogy; If the earth has been around for 1 year, that’s 365 days, us humans have only been on the planet for the last second b/4 the end of the year. We don’t know JACK about climate yet. Heck, I was taught in school that each continent was a plate!! Look what we know now!! Climate is the least thing we need to worry about… For now.
        We should worry about not F-ing up our water sources or food sources, which are HUGELY important. Pesticides kill everything sooner or later! Monsanto has me pretty freaked out also! I actually wish I could just be a regular schlep that buys their food & just eats it happily, than to know what I know.
        Yes, I feel us humans ARE an invasive species. We have no regard to anything else but us humans. Many humans have no regard to how they will feed their offspring, aside from taxpayers like myself.
        Protected land isn’t even protected anymore! A forest preserve by my home is getting smaller because a road is to be widened. 50 feet on either side for 3 miles is getting wiped out so more humans can spread out farther from the crowded cities. This land was supposed to be PROTECTED!!!
        Whew! Composure. Ahh. Ok, I think I’m finished…. For now!

        1. Wow, that is a good letting off of steam, ha ha. Whilst I don’t agree with absolutely everything you say, I agree with a whole lot of it. Thank you MPG. Can anyone follow that?

  2. Interesting poll Tony. From a non-environmentalist perspective, it seems to me that we are just behaving as another predator species and we might be wiped out in a blink of a geological eye, unless we evolve as a species, and learn to care. Therefore my vote has been “we’ve lost touch with nature”.

    1. Interesting viewpoint Pier. Pardon the pun but let us hope our peers (!) are listening. Yes, regarding our loss of connection with Mother Nature, I feel we need regular nature-related discussion on the mainstream media, in order to restore our relationship with the Natural World. Make our involvement with nature a necessity, rather than merely a passing thought for today, only to be forgotten the next. I guess, as you state, mankind is the most influential predator of all and we have it in us to look after the ecosystems we prey upon.

  3. Or maybe we should change paradigm. From a predator-prey perspective to being the most “conscious” part of a worldwide symbiotic ecosystem. Recently I was told the story of how the Dolomites were formed , by one of the geologists who wrote the dossier for the UNESCO recognition. They were built by a group of life forms symbiotically cooperating to keep as close as possible to water surface for survival, in one of the geological cycles where they were under the sea. By far the biggest architecture built on our planet by life.

    1. Indeed Pier and I suspect there are many symbiotic relationships, yet to be discovered in nature. That is, if they get a chance to reveal themselves before we send in the bulldozers. We take far too much for granted and there is a need to understand Natural World processes before we are doomed to fail, as Mother Nature is certain to have the last word.

  4. I’m divided on the ‘caring’ issue – I think if everyone decided to ‘reconnect with nature’, as encouraged by open space policies and the media, surely existing wildlife habitats will come under even more pressure? It seems to me that the majority of people that regularly visit our Nature Reserves, woodlands and open spaces are there to exercise their dogs and sometimes their children in a pleasant space with little awareness of, or regard to its importance to the resident wildlife. And what if they do become aware? People still need open spaces to enjoy in their own way and with populations increasing rapidly and available public spaces staying the same, our wildlife is surely going to continue to downsize to fit into ever-decreasing spaces. If the mission is to engage more people with wildlife then more space is required so the wildlife that doesn’t want to engage with us or be ‘managed’ has somewhere to go – otherwise we’ll end up with a country-wide zoo park and very few truly wild spaces!

  5. Theresa, you express some well thought out views right there. As for the downsizing, I think it’s already occurring and the wildlife (more especially, the specialists, when taking farmland birds as an example) are getting forced into corners of often unsuitable habitat and are increasingly subjected to imbalances between prey and predator. Of course, that is my own view and I don’t expect everyone to agree, but I must stress the current science, in part, lends itself to such a conclusion. So far, the poll is states to me at least, that conservation is a most intricate process, which will continue to require collaborative thinking, should we be able to halt these horrendous biodiversity declines.

  6. Hi,

    As it doesn’t show up on my page directly, I just wanted to copy a comment into here, which I had from Darren Engel.

    Darren Engel – 6 hours ago

    In many areas the system of creating a reserve or protected area for a species is simply not good enough especially in habitats affected either directly or indirectly by people. I perceive a practical need to change our relationships with animals in habitat disturbed areas. For example in Australia many marsupials are being decimated by the more successful foxes and cats. Small marsupials are being eradicated in an undetermined rate and Quolls (native cats) are being out competed if not eaten also. A number of scientists here believe if everyone had native cats and small marsupials as pets instead of cats, rabbits etc then there would not be a threat. The family that wants to get rid of their pets will release them into the wild instead of a stray cat which eats on average one native animal a day or a rabbit which out breeds everything. There would also be a viable domesticated gene pool. Of course not all wild animals can be domesticated but many can, the sugar glider a small gliding marsupial from Australia is now a major pet in the usa with over 30 000 being kept while in Australia it is still illegal to keep any native mammal.

  7. Very interesting comments. Thanks Tony. I agree with much of what was said. I liked the comment about recreation which was one of Leopold’s complaints. “Recreational development is a job not of building roads into lovely country, but of building receptivity into the still unlovely human mind” (Leopold 1949: 176-177). The majority of the responders might agree that our problem is habitat loss due to human population growth fueled by focus on innate appetites rather than awareness of nature and the consequences of our actions.

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