Moving towards a better future for our wildlife

Occasionally there comes a time to reflect on past knowledge of a subject and then to test it further as new evidence comes to light, some months or years later. I’m not having a Google “Right to be forgotten” moment, but it could be suggested that most people will on occasion, make a judgement quite naturally or unnaturally with or without intent and then upon reflection, realise they were misguided on a certain topic. This would of course simply be human nature and I guess we all need to accept this fact as new thoughts and ideas come to the fore. We are often told to assess the past, in order guide our future prospects. At risk of rambling, where exactly am I going with all this?

Well, could it be that these same thought processes, applied to our relationships, career prospects, friendships etc. might actually also apply in a debate about nature conservation? If I also put it to you, that our country’s wildlife future is in your hands, could you as an individual truly make a difference?

Let me now remind you of two naturestimeline postings from a year ago (click on the links to access original content) which once again poses the age old question of how best to conserve this nation’s wildlife.

Do we need a change of direction?

Or perhaps a new holistic approach to effective conservation practice?

 

So with yet still unanswered questions and *in light of many of the latest incentives coming out of the scientific community approach to nature conservation, are we now making the right kind of progress for our non-human inhabitants of this good earth at last?

naturestimeline Media/News/Publishing “A conservation professional sharing his personal perspective on breaking news stories from the world of nature alongside his own accounts from the field.”

*https://www.facebook.com/naturestimeline/posts/697195477005565, http://www.gwct.org.uk/news/news/2014/may/20140516/, http://butterfly-conservation.org/48-5124/relief-road-proves-butterfly-hit-.html

#conservation

#education

#wildlife

#science

#society

and

So long Winter, see you in nine months time

After the Winter we have witnessed here in the United Kingdom, I think most would welcome a human type gestation period of calm before the rebirth of a Winter anything like the one we’ve just witnessed. By way of example, just how wet was it? Here is the view from the UK Met Office. To add a personal perspective, here’s the Davis data for my locale from Berkshire in England.

December 2013 precipitation
December 2013 precipitation
January 2014 precipitation
January 2014 precipitation
February 2014 precipitation
February 2014 precipitation

When viewing the above charts, I have put in a false red line which shows in my view at least, the days you would normally describe as soakers, i.e. those producing 10mm or more, which is the equivalent of approximately 2/5ths of an inch. In actual Meteorological terms, a “wet” day is where precipitation exceeds 2mm and a “very wet” day is classed as a day on which 20mm is exceeded. So yes, you can safely say Winter 2013/14 has been wet in my patch with only 20 out of the 90 days registering as a day without precipitation*. However, it wasn’t necessarily my region which made the headlines. The attached link from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) shows the devastating effects of the flooding from Somerset. On there you should be able to view other reports, complete with video clips, from other UK regions which were affected by the odd Winter weather. We should not forget that it was also very windy on occasions, although my own readings are lower than most, you can see from the attached images, where winds have exceeded the 38mph mark as indicated by my red line. This dates can be described as Gale days, although perhaps not strictly under Meteorological definition. Any wind gusts which exceed the green line shown would normally represent a windy day for my location, based on my own experiences of past events.

December 2013 Top Wind Gusts
December 2013 Top Wind Gusts
January 2014 Top Wind Gusts
January 2014 Top Wind Gusts
February 2014 Top Wind Gusts
February 2014 Top Wind Gusts

As for snow, well, Scotland nicked it all, this article again from the BBC being typical of highland Scotland’s Winter in 2013/14. For the rest of the British Isles, it had been a very poor one for those who wanted to see some wintry ice crystals, in fact I barely saw two days of sleet throughout the whole Winter. The Air Temperatures weren’t especially noteworthy with the mean for the Winter as a whole, somewhere around 1c above the long-term average, based on the 1981-2010 CET series. The lack of Air Frosts was notable for my location however, with only nine (9) being achieved in total and not all of these were before dawn due to my 24 hour reporting periods. As for the effect on the Natural World by way of phenology, more reports on that are forthcoming.

*only one dry day in January and this fell within a period of 33 days with only the one dry day in total

and

Wildlife Conservation – complex and controversial? Assessing the naturestimeline poll findings

I apologise for the inactivity surrounding this particular Blog and without further ado, I will attempt to address the poll’s results.

Firstly, as an aspiring conservation professional, I produced the poll, solely for the reason that I believed it would be a unique way to engage with my readership. Judging by the responses I received, it seems to have worked. Now, after the participation, there is the analysis. For me, the Blog header, says it all. Understandably, being that Wildlife Conservation is complicated, the poll results, as you can see, are mixed.

Attempting to break things down a little, one can find that just over 50 per cent of voters, believed that processes of Habitat loss and Habitat mismanagement were key reasons behind wildlife/biodiversity decline. According to my pollsters, intriguingly, ecological imbalances between the Prey and Predator and the processes of Climate Change were deemed to have minimal impact on the state of our wider environment. Prior to other’s involvement, my view, on which I voted accordingly, was that Climate Change and Predation issues were key indicators driving wildlife declines.

Moving on then, you may ask what do the poll findings prove and where can we take things from here? Here are some of my evolving objectives for this Blog, whilst keeping wildlife observation as a central theme.

  • I want to be able to find answers to everyday questions about Wildlife Conservation practice!
  • Based on the current scientific evidence, what can be done to improve Wildlife Conservation?
  • Are we collaborating enough with other parties
  • Are we utilising the evidence base, when making decisions at a local level?
  • Is there one key message** which could be taken from the poll which could serve to halt the declines in biodiversity?

As a Birding Professional who is keenly awaiting his copy of the 2007 to 2011 United Kingdom Breeding Bird Atlas to drop through his door, I’ll finish this post with a quote* from the 1988 to 1991 Atlas.

Breeding Bird Atlas for the British Isles 1988-1991 front cover
Breeding Bird Atlas for the British Isles 1988-1991 front cover

Courtesy of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh

Quite apart from the influence of human activities, nature is a dynamic process and the success of species has always depended on a number of natural variables, including climatic conditions throughout the year and the relative abundance of prey and predators

**Even twenty years ago, looking for answers on an effective way of managing habitats for wildlife, it was complicated. I just hope we are progressing on the right path now, as we look ahead a further twenty years.**


Google+naturestimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell