In 2015, as in many previous years, it is likely that more trees will have been destroyed than in any year before. We are part of a global civilisation that are cutting down the future survival of future generations. Any parent surely should be conscious that the economic model we are following will simply kill off our children.
There is hope – in many parts of Europe, particularly the south, huge swaths of the landscape are now forest where once there wasn’t. These massive forests, naturally regenerating in areas once barren from tiny pockets that were able to protect against centuries of merciless grazing and bolstered by planting of non natives, have a burgeoning wildlife population that is accelerating into numbers more in line with medieval times.
And this new landscape, created by humans, is utterly dependent on humans for it’s future.
Even in populated areas the landscape is becoming an arboreal one. The remnant pockets of olive groves are actually more than there were. The places in between, riddled with substantial development, have been planted with trees – replacing the scrub evident in old photographs and still fresh in the minds of older generations. Never before has there been better chance for these people to witness Wolves, wild Boar and Chamois on their own property. Albeit smaller, scrawnier and often unhealthy animals seeking out food in the bins and manicured gardens as there own proper habitat is less fruitful.
In the UK, it is the garden landscape where optimism can be found. The tree cover of our gardens is generally ignored by policy makers and NGO people, save some excellent organisations. But it’s here that provides the example of how the British people can and have successfully blended environmental and ecological needs into the modern economy of that area.
The huge, vast sums of money paid into UK nature conservation is quite unbelievable to many foreigners especially as there seems little progress as a result. Ideals such as ‘Re Wilding’ provide a welcome boost when money is tight – but the science is lacking. Surely the soils and landscapes proposed are far too changed and the result at best will be wildlife heavily dependent on charity rather than in symbiotic relationship with human operations in the landscape. Re-wilding is surely little more than a cruel to animals, misanthropic, idealism that does little more than divide even further those in nature conservation and the farming community at a time it can be ill afforded.
To concentrate first on what works is sensible and will engage many more people, rather than further duping them with unrealistic dreams. The trees they plant are just as important. And further if there was better joined up thinking help towards providing a base of green waste suitable for energy? It would be interesting to see how much garden waste goes to landfill or on the bonfire in comparison with the timber exported from US forests and elsewhere to keep our power plants burning.
As the UK heads towards possible exit from the EU it is important to remember that UK conservationists have in blithely ignoring what is happening elsewhere in Europe, added fuel to the exit campaign.