A Rocha UK host ‘Re-Imagining the Uplands’ conference.

26 March 2022
Comments 2
Category Blog, News, NW
26 March 2022, Comments 2

by Andy Lester, A Rocha UK’s Head of Conservation

A Rocha UK, alongside one of our Partners in Action Scargill House, facilitated the ‘Re-Imagining the Uplands’ conference on 18-20 March. 35 representatives from all four UK nations met together at the Christian conference centre in North Yorkshire to build a dialogue around the future of our upland areas from a faith perspective. Delegates included farmers, senior Civil Servants, land agents and managers, a Bishop, a Rabbi and a Fransican Friar.

Thought-provoking contributions from Chris Packham (BBC Springwatch), Michael Seddon (CEO of Forestry England), Hannah Malcolm (Operation Noah) and Canon Sarah Snyder (Rose Castle Foundation) aided those attending the conference to creatively explore ways of building a more sustainable future. It brought together a wide range of perspectives to discuss and pray around the issue of land management of the uplands which has often been controversial, starting a process of deepening each other’s understanding of both the problems affecting our uplands and the possible solutions available. One delegate said, “this felt like the start of a whole new conversation and one that I would very much like to remain part of as we think through what’s next [for our uplands]”.

Uplands management remains a complex and topical issue, with many unresolved conflicts. Historically, enclosures and subsequent land clearance removed much of the upland native forests in the UK. Ongoing issues include overgrazing by sheep, damage to native flora, agroforestry plantations and grouse moor-burning which destroys soils and releases carbon. The future impacts of climate change, which will drastically affect which trees and flowering plants will grow in our uplands, must also be considered.

Insights from this creative event will feed into A Rocha UK’s work to deliver on one of our key five-year goals: to see 75,000 acres of Christian-managed land working for nature and to cut carbon by 2026.

2 responses on “A Rocha UK host ‘Re-Imagining the Uplands’ conference.

  1. Ann Williams says:

    This is certainly a great idea – or bringing together of many ideas, but something needs to be done to educate those who are destroying our uplands…in our area, and indeed in other parts of Wales, we have seen terrible fires in our uplands. At this time of year these are almost certainly arson attacks on our wonderful, diverse uplands. Here we have seen an huge area continuing to burn for nearly a week. It is an area of rare upland bog, due to be rejuvenated. It is now destroyed. Peat bogs are known to be great storage facilities for carbon dioxide – this one is no longer able to do that.
    We are up in arms about destruction of forests and grasslands all over the world, yet, it seems, unable to stop this vandalism at home

    • My heart goes out to Ann Williams on reading her comment about the destruction of Welsh upland habitat, the environmental impact of those fires will be huge. Education about these issues is vital and I would be interested to see input from this valuable conference feed into the wider debate.
      In addition, one question occurs to me on this subject; how much upland habitat, if any, is ‘Christian-managed’ or, indeed, owned?