"Unfortunately much conservation is little more than painting by numbers. There are these habitat management manuals, and the management techniques they describe are often used unthinkingly and often inappropriately."
And the whole article is desperately needed. And should be read again and again especially each time the NFU/NT/Wildlife Trusts push their propaganda via press release and spurious education programmes at us.
Why are Britain's conservation groups so lacking in ambition?
I completely agree with the following comment:
"The places in which you would expect to find most wildlife, and in which you would expect a significant ecological recovery, are those:
a. where the human population is lowest
b. which are furthest from the cities
c. which are the least favourable for farming.
In Britain this means the uplands. This is why I have become obsessed with the way they are managed. But wildlife in the uplands, amazingly, is faring worse than it is in the crowded, intensively farmed lowlands. The State of Nature report, published in May, revealed that while 60% of wildlife species in Britain as a whole are in decline, in the uplands the rate is 65%.
The primary reason is that almost all the trees and scrub – on which the majority of species depend – have been removed, mostly by sheep farming. On the continent, the uplands are now largely forested, while the lowlands are largely bare. That is what you would expect. Upland soils tend to be much poorer than lowland soils, so farming is less productive there: generally many times less productive. But in Britain, while the lowlands are largely bare, the uplands are even barer. The places that should be our wildlife reservoirs are in fact wildlife deserts.
This state of depletion has been maintained by three means, in escalating order of importance:
a. Stalking estates artificially boosting the population of deer
b. Grouse moor owners cutting and burning the land (and killing hen harriers and other predators) to maximise the population of the upland chickens people pay to shoot
c. Governments spending public money to sustain farming – almost entirely sheep grazing – in the hills.
There would be no hill farming in Britain or anywhere in Europe were it not for subsidies."