It’s not a tribal blog, it’s a dialogue

Every so often, I aim to produce a pithy (450 words max) piece always with links to references.

Do apply to do a guest blog – note same word count and references if possible. Be prepared for ‘light touch edit’ to ensure positive, rather than divisive, engagement with the widest range of views.

Blog

Elite nature

Offence is not a defence. I should have had the maxim in my head when I complained about the dumbed down language in the ‘Bob for Nature’ letter I received a few years back.  I rang the head office. Could someone please explain the sentence to me “despite our efforts…..ancient woodlands destroyed, hedgerows flailed and … Continue reading Elite nature

Pollen counts

As my office in the Black Mountains is invaded by hoverflies seeking holes for hibernation, I journey to London to chair a discussion on the National Pollinator Strategy. When the Public Policy Exchange asked me to moderate ‘Promoting Community Partnerships: tackling the decline of pollinating insects in the UK’ (involving a Research Council, enviro groups, academia, farm conservation advisor … Continue reading Pollen counts

Guest blog.

Gareth Dockerty worked for Natural Resources Wales as a Conservation Officer and Reserves Manager, and has qualifications in woodland, conservation grazing and ecology. He has also worked in North York Moors National Park on small rural business development and is currently Regional Officer for BASC in North Yorkshire.  The uplands face an array of often … Continue reading Guest blog.

Trusting times

Farm tenancies for a pound, controversial views on farming subsidies, ‘pricing out’ upland farmers – the National Trust hasn’t held back from headlines this year.                                (Updated Aug 17) A quarter of a century ago, I worked for the trust as … Continue reading Trusting times

Collective sticks

We could say that the UK is suffering from agoraphobia – anxiety where sufferers perceive a space over which they have little or no control.  The word originates from early Greek when citizens would gather in the agora, a wide open gathering place, to hear news. It also served as a marketplace where merchants sold their … Continue reading Collective sticks

Bypassing fear

I’ve been coming up against a lot of fear recently. Fear of hearing about rewilding, fear of talk around predator control, fear within politics. We can outwit it. No one has said anything explicit, but I perceive there are some that dislike my providing the issue of rewilding with any airtime at all. The label, … Continue reading Bypassing fear

Harnessing tension

My article in The Field was one of the toughest pieces I’ve written to date. Does an unhealthy thirst for adversarial positions feed conflicts in conservation? It is now time to recognise these tensions and channel their energy towards a reconciliation of different interests. Pitching the proposal was hard enough. Editors commission stuff that keeps … Continue reading Harnessing tension

Upland enquiry

The more we explore different land uses, the more complexity we discover, the more we must accept elements of change. Much of the UK land area is upland, home to a sliver of our population. Of which a tiny slice actually work the land within industries from farming to forestry to conservation and tourism – … Continue reading Upland enquiry

Rain birds

The recovery in populations of farmland birds is long term work-in-progress. But there is hope ahead. Go count some birds (when it’s not raining). Make no bones about it – it’s a slog. After the Second World War farmers were encouraged to become more efficient (The Archers radio show was launched as a government information service for … Continue reading Rain birds

Fabulous farming

A sense that two farming conferences are getting closer together; although it’s fun to ‘spot the difference’, we can harvest more common ground. I caught two people hung between the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) and the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC). One had been ‘suggested’ by his boss to go to the OFC but his … Continue reading Fabulous farming