St. Madoc’s Youth Centre is ARUK’s Partner in Action on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. Following the end of a long-term tenancy agreement with a local farmer, they are keen to explore ways to manage the land to benefit habitats, wildlife, and plant diversity on the Gower, part of which will include conservation grazing. Hilfield Friary, ARUK’s Partner in Action in North Dorset, has had conservation grazing on their land since the early 2000’s, and it’s now a key part of their management for biodiversity in chalk downland wildflower meadows. Lydia Reese, our Partner in Action Manager and Richard Thornbury, who started the conservation grazing programme at the Friary, arranged a training for St. Madoc’s staff to share what they have learned.
After an overview of the basic principles of conservation grazing using both sheep and cattle in open pasture, the staff of St. Madoc’s Centre had a tour of the Friary land and learned about some of the past challenges that the Friary has encountered as well as current obstacles and successes. They observed the differences in pastures with varying management plans and examined the animals in winter condition, observing their health and wellbeing.
The other ... Read more...
Back in the 1970’s and early 80’s it was not at all unusual in the spring and summer months to find the front of people’s cars plastered with thousands of insects; from butterflies to bees and wasps. But those days have gone now and across the whole of Europe and North America it is the same story of rapid insect decline.
As we have lost birds, plants and mammals, the decimation of insect species has been missed by many. We all have a love-hate relationship with our six legged friends. Some bite, others sting and some look downright scary. Yet without insects, the planet would slowly die. Insects are critical for pollination; they also provide food for birds, which in turn are the main prey for many mammals – remove insects and you lose one of the key building-blocks of biodiversity.
In the last 50 years, our best estimate is that the UK may have lost about 60% of its insects. Nationally we are losing as much as 2.5% of the remaining insect population each year.
So why is it is happening and what can be done? Our farming ... Read more...