Friday, 18 June 2010

RSPB Steps Over the Line

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is stepping outside the boundaries of nature reserves, making wildlife conservation part of the fabric of our working and living environments. It makes sense – why should conservation only occur behind locked gates and reserve fences?

Nature doesn’t recognize the borders of a reserve, so why should conservation stop at marked boundaries? ‘Green corridors’, the lifelines that species use between richer habitats, are not a new phenomenon but is one that the RSPB are embracing in their 2010 ‘Futurescapes program’.

Aidan Lonergan, manager of the program, suggests that the scheme is developing as a response to the increasingly isolation of UK protected sites and concerning declines in habitats and species, which continues despite 2010’s label as ‘The International Year of Biodiversity’. It seems vital that this attitude is embraced by the UK, in order for us to continue developing and living in a sustainable manner.

With ‘sustainable development’ the key words in this project, the Futurescapes program is working in partnership with companies such as Veolia and the Port of London Authority. The idea is to make use of unused land, whether it be alongside our motorways, bordering an industrial estate or in a landfill site.

As well as creating more space for British Wildlife, local communities should experience an improvement in their quality of life, both aesthetically and through improved air quality, and visitor around the UK should be able to experience the richness of local habitats, without necessarily having to drive to designated sites.

80 UK sites have so far been allocated, around the country, including; West Canvey Marsh (Essex) - set to become a specialist habitat for insects, and a new port on the River Thames - a new wetland area for birds.

The RSPB has specific goals in mind for each area; In Pitsea, where a huge landfill area will become a country park, an aim is to encourage the return of the RSPB’s emblem bird - rare, black and white wader, the avocet - to the area.

In addition, it’s hoped that the Futuerscapes program will help to change the face of the RSPB, which is now in its 120th year of operation. Many still view the society as a charity solely for birdwatchers but the Futurescapes program should communicate that their concerns reach far beyond this, with hopes of setting an international trend in a new take on conservation.

To find out more about the project and how to get involved, take a look at the program’s website:

Image from the RSPB

Lucy's post was also featured on Responsible Travel News

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