Today is World Wildlife Day, so let’s celebrate the UK’s wildlife! 🌎
At first I thought urgh I wish I could go to Africa, Australia and really bio diverse countries to see some amazing wildlife, but actually, especially over the last couple of years, I have discovered how brilliant the wildlife on my doorstep and in the UK is!
The British Isles is home to an enormous amount of plants and animals – there is 4,000 species of beetle alone! Over 600 bird species including White tailed eagles, osprey and Puffins, nearly 60 species of butterfly including Purple Emperors and Painted Ladies and 66 species of mammal including otters, beavers and foxes!
Britain’s wildlife is amazing, you just don’t notice it’s there!
However… Britain famous for its wildlife and nature is failing.
We lost more ancient woods in the 40 years after the Second World War than the previous 400. Between the beginning of the war in the 1990s we lost 75,000 miles of hedgerows, up to 90% of wetland has disappeared in England alone since the industrial revolution and 97% of our wildflower meadows have been lost.
‘This is a story of unremitting unification and simplification reducing the landscape to large-scale patchwork of ryegrass and cereals also with scattered undermanaged woods and round hedgerows the only remaining refuge for many species of wild insects and songbirds’
The transformation of our countryside has impacted all wildlife, including birds. In 1966 according to the RSPB there were 40 million more birds in the UK than there are today. The abundance of all wildlife has fallen dramatically, insects and other invertebrates have been particularly badly hit: moths have declined 88%, ground beetles 72% and butterflies 76%.
Our flora is also failing, seed bearing ‘weed’ species, upon which turtle doves and countless other birds depend, have declined by 1% every year during the 20th century since records began in the 1940s.
We are among the most nature depleted countries in the world.
The solution to this problem is REWILDING 🌿🐝🐻🦊🐸🌳
Places like the Knepp estate, who have turned their land over to a pioneering rewilding experiment, the first of its kind in Britain, demonstrate this. Endangered British birds species are found there: migrants like Cuckoos, Nightingales and Turtle Doves, residents like Woodlarks, lapwings, lesser spotted woodpeckers and yellowhammers have been recorded there in good numbers since the project began or are now breeding at Knepp.
And it’s not just birds, other creatures are also back: dormice, slow worms, white letter hairstreak butterflies.
The key to Knepp’s success is its focus on ‘self willed ecological processes’.
Rewilding is the restoration by letting go, allowing nature and wildlife to take the driving seat. 🌿🦫