Rewilding and habitat restoration

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Woodchopper
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Sep 01, 2021 7:50 am

IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:34 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:02 pm
Thousands of people go all the way to Mull to see eagles (pdf) - the potential for wolf safaris or lynx watchpoints must be enormous.
Good luck to them. I don't have any expectation of seeing lynx or wolves if they are reintroduced. They are hard enough to see where they have been long established and at maximum density.
Yes, wild lynx and wolves are very shy and roam over a large territory. It would be very hard to provide tourists with a reliable experience that they'll pay to go and see. But its possible to build a tourism industry round semi-tame animals. For example ones that live in a large fenced off enclosure and are fed regularly at a certain spot. Such an area could be integrated with a genuine rewilded area so people could see the same animals that are roaming wild over the fence. Though of course there are all the arguments about the ethics of zoos.
IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:34 pm


Large birds that soar through the air are much easier to spot. Nevertheless, I have not seen sea eagles, for all my multi-day cycling tours on several occasions in the right areas of each Mull, Iceland and Norway.
Go on a canoe trip on the lakes in South-western Sweden and you can see loads of them.

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Woodchopper
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Sep 01, 2021 8:01 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:02 pm
More on the direct economic benefits of rewilding: Rewilding 5% of England could create 20,000 rural jobs
Rewilding 5% of England could create nearly 20,000 jobs in rural communities and increase employment by 50% compared with intensive farming, figures show.

Hybrid roles in animal husbandry and ecology, positions in nature tourism and specialist roles in species reintroductions could be among the new positions, according to analysis from Rewilding Britain, alongside benefits for biodiversity and the climate.

The drive to restore nature on a large scale in the UK’s landscapes has sparked fears of job losses in the agriculture community owing to perceived links to abandoning farmland and halting food production.

But Prof Alastair Driver, the director of Rewilding Britain who put together the figures, said the analysis showed rewilding on marginal land could increase employment without stopping traditional agricultural activities.
While it's a partisan analysis, it is based on sensible data:
The projection is based on detailed surveys of 27 large rewilding sites in England, totalling about 29,162 hectares (72,062 acres) of marginal land in the charity’s network of estates, farms and conservation areas.

On the sites, positions in education, livestock management and restoration activities were created, according to analysis of the responses, alongside a ninefold increase in volunteering positions.

The area represents about 0.2% of England and the job gains have been extrapolated to 5% of England. The charity’s goal is to rewild 5% of Britain.

“We are only scratching the surface in terms of nature-based tourism in this country. Diversification will increase resilience in the face of trade deals, tariffs and the future of farming,” Driver said.
I'd say that as rewilding takes off, and support for industrial agriculture wanes, the number of jobs gained is likely to be even more significant. Similarly, reintroductions of exciting species would massively increase desire for UK-based wildlife tourism (just as covid and the climate emergency might lessen foreign travel). Thousands of people go all the way to Mull to see eagles (pdf) - the potential for wolf safaris or lynx watchpoints must be enormous.
That looks plausible. Mechanization has meant that very few people are actually employed directly in food production. Service industries like tourism are far more labour intensive, and areas of forest are likely to attract more tourists than cultivated fields. There wasn't much information in the article, but it would be interesting to see how many jobs are due to new businesses and how many are created by rewilding its self (and probably funded by government spending).

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Sep 03, 2021 12:06 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 7:50 am
IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:34 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:02 pm
Thousands of people go all the way to Mull to see eagles (pdf) - the potential for wolf safaris or lynx watchpoints must be enormous.
Good luck to them. I don't have any expectation of seeing lynx or wolves if they are reintroduced. They are hard enough to see where they have been long established and at maximum density.
Yes, wild lynx and wolves are very shy and roam over a large territory. It would be very hard to provide tourists with a reliable experience that they'll pay to go and see. But its possible to build a tourism industry round semi-tame animals. For example ones that live in a large fenced off enclosure and are fed regularly at a certain spot. Such an area could be integrated with a genuine rewilded area so people could see the same animals that are roaming wild over the fence. Though of course there are all the arguments about the ethics of zoos.
I would assume that any reintroduction project would make use of feeding stations, at least in the first few years as part of "soft release". Introduced animals would probably also be closely monitored and almost certainly tracked with technological loggers. So it would be pretty easy for project biologists to assist a certain amount of tourism to bring funding into the project. This already happens with lynx in Spain. Wolves are a bit easier - there are loads of wolf-spotting trips available in places like Yellowstone.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Sep 03, 2021 12:23 pm

Pretty damning paper on the current model of conservation in the UK, published in Global Ecology and Conservation.

From the abstract:
We find that although 28% of UK land is reported by the UK government to be protected, only 11.4% of land area falls within protected areas designated primarily for nature conservation. Condition monitoring indicates that at most 43–51% of protected areas in the UK are currently in favourable condition, which suggests as little as 4.9% of UK land area may be effectively protected for nature. However, estimates of protected area coverage vary greatly depending on the types of protected areas considered ‘effectively protected’ as measured by management category and site condition. Taking the UK as an example of a country that has reportedly met the target, we suggest that global progress may have been overestimated, and that future targets and indicators need to focus on the quality as well as quantity of protected areas.
For example, the UK's National Parks don't meet the IUCN definition of a national park, because they're aiming to preserve historical landscapes rather than conserve biodiversity. This means that things like farming are subsidised, along with permitting intensification (such that the landscape isn't actually preserved anyway, but hey that's shifting baseline syndrome for you), with pretty disastrous consequences for nature.

Plus, of course, there's basically no funding or incentive to maintain the few areas where conservation is supposedly important, like SSSIs (which are mostly too small anyway). And there's the current scandal highlighting how many supposedly protected rivers and coastal areas are used by water companies as a dumping ground for sewage. Etcetera etcetera.

The UK is one of the richest countries in the world with a huge amount of expertise in doing this stuff. Which suggests that in most other countries the situation may be even worse, at least in places that don't give a crap.
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Fishnut
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Fishnut » Fri Sep 03, 2021 4:58 pm

Thanks for highlighting that paper. I'm going to give it a read, it looks really interesting if - as is so often the case for this stuff - majorly depressing.

Anecdotally, I live right by an SSSI (I'm just off to walk my dog in it) and it's mostly grazed with cattle or sheep, with a few fields occasionally used for crops. Those not regularly grazed are cut for hay or silage. We have a good variety of wildlife (see my photos in A Bugs Life for examples) but the streams and rhynes get routinely dredged and the field and access road margins get regularly cut, and there generally seems very little that's done to protect or even not actively harm the wildlife that is here. The value of the land as pasture is clearly more important than its biodiversity. Part of the reason I've started photographing the wildlife there so much is to try to document it in a probably vain attempt to protect the land against any future development. I keep my eye out for the species that have led to its designation but so far have failed to find some of them. It may be that they are present in other parts that I don't frequent but I do wonder if they've just disappeared.
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nekomatic
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by nekomatic » Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:01 pm

I saw sea eagles on a boat trip around Raasay, if that helps. Or does it have to be under your own motive power?
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Fishnut
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Fishnut » Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:07 pm

Really interesting thread by one of the authors on a new paper in Nature Sustainability (behind a paywall - if anyone has access I'd really like a copy!) that measures the changes in forest canopy cover following reforestation efforts in India. The TL:DR is that there wasn't any.
We find that tree plantings have not, on average, increased the proportion of forest canopy cover and have modestly shifted forest composition away from the broadleaf varieties valued by local people. Further cross-sectional analysis, from a household livelihood survey, shows that tree planting supports little direct use by local people. We conclude that decades of expensive tree planting programmes in this region have not proved effective. This result suggests that large-scale tree planting may sometimes fail to achieve its climate mitigation and livelihood goals.
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by monkey » Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:25 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:07 pm
Really interesting thread by one of the authors on a new paper in Nature Sustainability (behind a paywall - if anyone has access I'd really like a copy!) that measures the changes in forest canopy cover following reforestation efforts in India. The TL:DR is that there wasn't any.
We find that tree plantings have not, on average, increased the proportion of forest canopy cover and have modestly shifted forest composition away from the broadleaf varieties valued by local people. Further cross-sectional analysis, from a household livelihood survey, shows that tree planting supports little direct use by local people. We conclude that decades of expensive tree planting programmes in this region have not proved effective. This result suggests that large-scale tree planting may sometimes fail to achieve its climate mitigation and livelihood goals.
I just tried, I couldn't get access, but I found this preprint that appears to be the same work. There do seem to be differences in the wording of the abstract, but not the substance of it, and the figures look to be the same. No idea about the main text, but I reckon you'll get a good idea about the nature version from it.

pdf clicky

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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by bmforre » Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:58 am

From Norway to other coasts
Norway is dense with eagles. Article in Norwegian reports successes fetching birds from here to other parts of Europe.

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Rewilding and habitat restoration

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Oct 06, 2021 4:13 pm

In case there were any doubt about how mainstream the "rewilding" concept has become - and how wary we need to be of things sold under that umbrella - Boris Johnson has just promised to support a load of rewilding, including the catchphrase "build back beaver".

Yes really https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/ ... e-25150651

Potentially good news, but last time I checked the government's 30% target included dross like National Parks and AONBs which are currently neither managed for conservation nor wild.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

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