Saturday, 14 September 2013

Conservation Grazing Dogma

Ecologist Dr Mark Fisher has written a comprehensive critique of the corrupt use of Higher Level Stewardship agreements one of which is now in place on Blacka, courtesy of Sheffield Wildlife Trust and Natural England an agreement forged with no proper consultation involving local people despite requests for one dating back several years. Dr Fisher's article can be accessed here: The moral corruptness of Higher Level Stewardship

One of the characteristics of HLS, much used by both farming and conservation industries, is a reliance on long term use of conservation grazing - otherwise known as shoving farm animals onto land and leaving them to eat and defecate. Its referred to in my previous post.

There's increasing disquiet about this from those who are well informed about the practice and its effects on natural land. One of those who've commented on it is Dr Chris Reading, mentioned in Mark Fisher's article, who says conservation grazing....

".. appears to be governed by a ‘one size fits all’ mentality in which the specific habitat requirements of different animal groups are ignored resulting in habitat mismanagement and the conservation of nothing in particular, other than dogma” and that the management of lowland heathlands in the UK, through the use of “conservation grazing”, amounts to “little more than large scale ‘habitat gardening’ in which the primary objective appears to be the achievement of an aesthetically pleasing landscape, driven by low financial cost and the welfare of the grazing livestock, rather than concerns about habitat and wildlife conservation"

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