Friday, 22 July 2011

Vanity, vanity

Just how important are you?
Habitat creation is what conservationists like to do. It is the ultimate vanity. They change land sometimes tinkering irritatingly but other times completely changing its character while claiming to be attracting wildlife - but only the wildlife that is on their target list. Each time you create a habitat you are of course destroying another one. You are changing the look of a place, you are declaring that you are privy to a unique insight into what should grow there and what should not and you are proclaiming that of all people, and before nature itself, you know best. In short, you are playing God. It's hard to make a distinction between this and gardening or farming; I would call it a mix of the two. So those committees of Natural England which instruct their petty officials to decare SSSIs leading to top down management of once natural land have assumed powerful control over the natural world. This is no hands off affair with a brief to protect from development and intrusion. This is campaigning with all available weapons and resources against nature itself. And much of the implementation of this strategy is placed in the hands of raw, unseasoned and inadequately skilled front line troops employed by wildlife trusts.

Here, on Blacka, we can see the result of a strategy that privileges dung flies and dung beetles, and cropped grass covered with faeces and brown stained with urine over fresh wild flowers and natural growth.

This is all paid for from our taxes via 'Natural' England subsidies. To find pockets of truly natural land you need to seek out the odd corners and strips where neither cows nor sheep graze, under a wall alongside a track or road.

More and more the mindless grazing fetish of the conservation industry is being applied across the country just where natural succession is trying to get a hold. All must be controlled at whatever cost. And one's God-playing role must be celebrated via press releases to local and national media outlets, just in case the public fail to notice how important you are.

At Northumberland Wildlife Trust press releases were sent out and a round the clock watch was kept on an avocet nest. Intervention was the order of the day, nature cannot look after itself. Just in case the sea came in and washed the nest away they used a JCB to drain the area around. Regular updates on Facebook and Twitter as the eggs hatched. Then along came a heron and ate the chicks.

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