Friday, 28 January 2011

My dark crystal ball

I have an increasing worry that very soon, the only places where we can hope to see wildlife (beyond the stinging nettle - blue tit - large white suite of common species) are going to be nature reserves. These will be behind fences, the other side of ditches or out-of-bounds to us all together. As unprotected land is either built upon, ploughed up, left to scrub over or not managed for its special inhabitants, so the area that is left in the UK that is able to support a varied wildlife will contract. This will mean that natural corridors for wildlife to move along to re-colonise abandoned areas or re-invigorate a shrinking gene pool will be closed for good. What 'good' land is left will struggle to maintain healthy populations. It all seems so likely and so depressing.

Most recent atlas's published for our wildlife seems to tell the same story - of contracting range and of threatened populations. Some of this however may be skewed by my living in the south. No doubt if you study moths, butterflies and dragonflies north of the Humber these are exciting times, as our warming land is helping to unleash range expansions into our northern counties like never before. But this brings its own set of problems, with other species having to flee northwards away from temperature change, and probably out of the UK altogether.

Worst case scenario for me is of a land in which you have to queue at a gate to gain access to Britain's last remaining fragment of chalk downland and take your place in a line to watch the last butterflies flitting behind a protective clear plastic biosphere, inside will be white-coated wardens collecting the butterflies eggs as they are laid, to rush them back to an on site laboratory. On the way out you will be able to visit the 'Virtual Birding experience' where helmets are handed out for you to relive the sites and sounds of such extinct UK breeding species such as Turtle Dove and Corn Bunting.

More happiness from me soon...


  1. Mmmmm - a Virtual Birding Experience.... sounds warm.... where do I pay?

  2. We can hope that your vision of the future is totally wrong Steve but sadly the warning signs are already there.

  3. Oh god, Steve, I'm a depressive already...I just hope that your vision of 'utopia' is not due until about 2070...

    Its not much better north of the Humber. Its looks alright, but its mainly sterile farmland.

  4. Hi Steve, I would add to the gloom that I think most of our wild spaces, probably including nature reserves, will end up disappearing under mounds of dog mess as well. No hope!

  5. Thanks for the comments chaps. I was obviously in a 'good' mood on Friday! Having just watched my team lose 4-0 to Fulham, it isn't getting much better...