Here are the most recent published annual incomes of most of the local, county, regional or national Wildlife Trusts.
Avon Wildlife Trust £2.3m
Beds, Cambs & Northants Wildlife Trust £4.5m
Berks, Bucks and Oxon & Wildlife Trust £5.4m
Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust £0.8m
Brecknock Wildlife Trust £0.2m
Cheshire Wildlife Trust £1.8m
Cumbria Wildlife Trust £3.7m
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust £1.9m
Devon Wildlife Trust £3.9m
Dorset Wildlife Trust £3.7m
Durham Wildlife Trust £1.3m
Essex Wildlife Trust £9.5m
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust £2.3m
Gwent Wildlife Trust £1m
Hants & IOW Wildlife Trust £3.8m
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust £2.1m
Herts & Middx Wildlife Trust £1.8m
Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust £0.4m
Kent Wildlife Trust £4.4m
Lancashire Wildlife Trust £4.0m
Leics and Rutland Wildlife Trust £3.0m
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust £2.6m
London Wildlife Trust £3.2m
Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust £0.6m
Norfolk Wildlife Trust £5.7m
North Wales wildlife Trust £1.2m
Northumberland Wildlife Trust £2.7m
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust £3.0m
Radnorshire Wildlife Trust £0.3m
Scottish Wildlife Trust £4.4m
Sheffield Wildlife Trust £1.1m
Shropshire Wildlife Trust £1.8m
Somerset Wildlife Trust £2.8m
South & West Wales Wildlife Trust £2.2m
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust £2.7m
Suffolk Wildlife Trust £3.9m
Surrey Wildlife Trust £6.1m
Sussex Wildlife Trust £4.6m
Tees Valley Wildlife Trust £0.5m
Ulster Wildlife Trust £1.8m
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust £6.4m
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust £3.2m
Worcestershire Wildlife Trust £2.0m
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust £5.4m
Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (the UK body) £11.8m
Interesting? I’ll come back to this when less distracted by horse racing.
This morning I set you a little teaser: put these organisations and their incomes together.
Here’s the answer:
Butterfly Conservation £3.7m
Marine Conservation Society £2.9m
What do you make of that?
I’m staying with friends wondering whether Peregrine Run is a good bet in the 2:50 at Cheltenham this afternoon, so when I woke at around the fairly usual 05:15 I didn’t wander down the landing to my computer and start some work. Instead I used my ‘phone as a computer and listened to Farming Today (which I don’t normally do).
Farming Today is not my favourite radio programme and I regard it as a good place to find occasional examples of poor reporting – often examples which muddy the environmental waters, like, in my opinion, today.
Today in the introduction to the programme the presenter said ‘Can planting trees reduce the worst flooding? We hear how the science is inconclusive’. Note, not can planting trees reduce flooding, but can planting trees reduce the worst flooding (undefined).
And note not ‘Does planting trees reduce flooding?’, but ‘Can planting trees reduce flooding?’. ‘Does’, ‘Can’, not much difference really? Well, does Peregrine Run win the 2:50 at Cheltenham this afternoon, or can Peregrine Run win the 2:50 at Cheltenham this afternoon? I know it can, but will it?
To say that the evidence is inconclusive that natural measures can reduce flooding is to say that it might be a pipe-dream, that there may be no basis in it at all even if we learn from what we are doing at the moment and do it better and differently in future. It’s quite a big claim. In contrast, to say that it doesn’t is a much smaller claim because it depends on current actions and methods, not on biological reality. Words are quite powerful things aren’t they? Even little words like ‘can’ and ‘does’.
When the piece came along it started with another the introduction saying ‘…but a paper published today in a Royal Society journal says ‘Claims that natural flood management will alleviate the worst floods aren’t supported by scientific evidence’ but then became much more circumspect a little later saying that the scientists found that ‘…while natural measures are valuable in the prevention of floods they aren’t a silver bullet’.
So we’ve gone from ‘Science can’t tell us whether natural measures can prevent the worst flooding to ‘Scientists say that natural measures do prevent flooding but don’t stop it altogether and may not be the whole of the answer everywhere and always’. The programme also didn’t tell us specifically about whether planting trees reduces flooding it dealt with the rather general and undefined issue of ‘natural measures’ which may include many things as far as I know at the moment without reading the paper itself.
When the scientist from Oxford was interviewed, and his words will have been selected by the editing team at Farming Today, he said that natural flood measures can have an important impact but they aren’t a silver bullet and that the further down the catchment one goes the impacts seem to diminish. Well that all makes sense but one is left with a very different impression from hearing the interview than being led into it by Farming Today’s rather sensational introduction. The researcher said ‘There is definitely a place for natural flood management in the jigsaw of flood risk management in general’.
I’ll read the report, some time after Peregrine Run’s race, to make up my own mind.
My prediction is that there is enough evidence to show that, done properly, existing small examples of natural flood management reduce impacts on people, but you have to do the right things in the right places, and that if done on a larger scale (because we don’t do much at the moment) there could be a lot more scope. But I’m guessing. I’m guessing about Peregrine Run too.
Here is a list of environmental organisations, in alphabetical order: BTO, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation, GWCT, Marine Conservation Society, Plantlife, RSPB, WWF-UK, WWT
And here is a list of their incomes, in numerical order; £1.1m, £2.8m, £2.9m, £3.7m, £5.8m, £7.2m, £24m, £71m, £137m
Can you match the incomes to the organisations?
Answers this evening, or via the Charity Commission website if you’d like to look them up yourself.
The moorland where we watched Black Grouse display yesterday morning – we saw about 40 birds altogether – also holds Red Grouse. The Black Grouse were displaying and singing but the Red Grouse were behaving like the silent majority in the early morning.
Let’s say there are around 100 Black Grouse at this site (maybe more) but there must be a lot more Red Grouse there but we struggled for a while to see one or hear one. But they are there. Whereas Black grouse lek and draw attention to themselves, Red Grouse form pairs and are territorial but we were surprised we didn’t hear more of them as the light strengthened.
These two species are pretty similar in size and shape but differe drmatically in their behaviour. And although they both occur on this site, and some others too, they differ in their ecology. Red Grouse are pretty much birds of open country and heather moorland whereas Black Grouse are birds of forest edge – sometimes inside the forest, sometimes out on the moorland and sometimes on the boundary.
Generally speaking, what is best for Red Grouse isn’t best for Black Grouse and vice versa. there is no doubt that the etreme management of the British uplands to favour Red Grouse (so that they can be shot for fun) has disadvantaged Black Grouse. It’s not the only thing that has disadvantaged Black Grouse as they have been clobbered by disturbance abd habitat loss too, but the British uplands would be a much more secure refuge for Black Grouse were it not for the extreme management for Red Grouse.
Take a look at other European countries, and their populations of Black Grouse and Red Grouse are strikingly more skewed towards Black Grouse. If they all attempted to introduce driven grouse shooting then their Willow Grouse might increase in numbers but their Black Grouse would suffer. A more natural upland ecosystem, with more forest cover and more scrub would help Black Grouse and still leave plenty of room for plenty of Red Grouse too.
The decline of Black Grouse is certainly not only due to upland management for Red Grouse, after all Black Grouse once strutted their stuff in the New Forest, the Surrey Heaths and in Dorset, but our uplands are far too dominated by intensive management for red Grouse shooting to give Black Grouse enough of a chance.
How much would you pay to experience a Black Grouse lek like the one I saw and heard yesterday morning? well, Alan and Ruth (Ruth and Alan) would be happy to take your money and show you some birds, but there are no business opportunities of a similar sort in the Peak District – and there ought to be. In North Wales a local B&B, a local restaurant, a local cafe and a local petrol station all benefitted from my visit. Their equivalents in the Peak District and many other upland areas in northern England are missing out because of Red Grouse management that imposes a lot of other costs of society too (and us underpinned by wildlife crime).
Things ought to change – and they will.