“‘Landscape Amnesia’ is the latest buzzword,” said Dave Bromwich to the Gainsborough Area Group of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
Dave is head of the Lincolnshire Reserves Management Team, overseeing their 99 reserves. Drawing on his vast experience and illustrated with photos taken on an aerial tour of those reserves, as well as later drone footage, Dave outlined not just the history and ecological interest of the sites, but also the challenges of managing them. Decisions about their future could be controversial, and the views of his audience were sought.
In essence many reserves were acquired as last-ditch attempts to conserve surviving remnants of landscapes being destroyed by arable farming and industrial or housing developments. These disappearing landscapes, peat bogs, heathland, freshwater marsh or wildflower meadows had supported biodiversity, now greatly reduced nationally and vanishing from Lincolnshire.
Citing Professor Lawton’s mantra that reserves need to be ‘bigger, better, and more joined up’, the Trust had opportunities to do all three, but as his photos showed, some reserves were too isolated, too small, or degrading through encroaching scrub and trees. Should such reserves be sold? (The Lawton review of 2010 looked at how to help nature thrive.)
Other coastal and estuarine reserves, particularly on the Humber Bank, are at risk from flooding or erosion. Should they be protected at vast cost? Opportunities to recreate vanishing landscapes were, however, also occurring on the East Coast to link up large areas and recreate coastal marshes. At Snipe Dales, the reserve was to be rewilded with dog walking only permitted on the Country Park area. At Willow Tree Fen, public access was prohibited, to protect the cranes which have returned to nest after four hundred years – they are extremely sensitive to human disturbance.
As a representative of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Dave sought the views of the audience on what were often controversial decisions. It was a most stimulating and enjoyable evening.
For further details of the Group’s programme please email firstname.lastname@example.org.