What nature does for Britain – quotes

9781781253281I reviewed Tony Juniper’s book on ecosystem services quite a while back, but after a tweet from him yesterday supporting the questions I posed to Countryfile, I went back and checked what Tony had written about grouse moors.

Page 102: ‘We’ll always be able to treat the water, it’s just that it’s very expensive’ [A Yorkshire Water spokesman]. Another option is to look at ways of influencing land management, and specifically measures that will help bogs recover. Some estates are reluctant to join in with blanket bog recovery however as they regard such work as hostile to the aim of increasing grouse numbers‘.

Page 142-3: ‘Around half of the total area has been modified to the extent that little or no peat-forming vegetation remain, including because of burning to encourage grouse. As we have already seen this can present problems for water quality and flood risk. It is also a major source of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere.‘.

Page 148: ‘Some blanket bogs have been damaged by burning, including as we’ve seen to create better grouse habitat.‘.

Page 106: ‘Perhaps we’d make faster progress at less cost if there were more appreciation by policy-makers and regulatory agencies as to the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, whereby in cleaning up places like Poole Harbour and the water running off places like Dartmoor and grouse estates, British citizens are paying three times. We pay once in tax-funded subsidies  to farmers and landowners, we pay again in our water bills and a third time in picking up the bill for for repairing different types of environmental damage including the effects of flooding.’.

Well said by the President of the Wildlife Trusts who might just want to stir themselves to ask their members to sign this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.

What Nature does for Britain by Tony Juniper is published by Profile Books.

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9 Replies to “What nature does for Britain – quotes”

  1. Funnily enough, I've just been reading a planning application for commercial peat extraction at a site in the Highlands. The accompanying Environmental Statement is quite illuminating:

    "The area under consideration is on the western edge of a highly managed grouse moor. The site contains habitats of low conservation value, partly due to the large area of intensive drained grouse moor, resulting in little naturalness remaining.

    The surrounding grouse moor management consists of drainage and burning which will have had important effects on the floristic structure and variation of these communities. It is believed that these management regimes have substantially damaged the natural vegetation to the point that the conservation value of the bog is low and restoration to blanket blog is not possible".

    The Gift of Grouse, eh?

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    1. What a sorry state our uplands are in! So now it doesn't matter if we exploit them for peat extraction because they've been pretty well trashed already! What hope for the British landscape and wildlife, to say nothing of efforts to control CO2 emissions?

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  2. British citizens are paying three times. We pay once in tax-funded subsidies to farmers and landowners, we pay again in our water bills and a third time in picking up the bill for for repairing different types of environmental damage including the effects of flooding.’.

    Well put. Another cost is the increase in travelling in order to experince pristine examples of blanket bog that have not been trashed by grouse farming.

    Bogs, mires and fens need to be restored everywhere for the benefit of everybody.

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    1. "for the benefit of everybody"

      How do the emissions of methane from bogs, mires and fens square up in CO2eq with efforts to control CO2 emissions or the continual increase of our reliance on food imports equate to a neocolonialist mindset?

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      1. Re CH4 - that's a very good question Filbert and one we really need to answer asap. Especially when one considers that CH4 has a GWP 25 times that of C02, and that methanotroph efficiency decreases considerably at warmer temperatures. If, as predicted, peat bogs get warmer and wetter then there is considerable potential for very high CH4 releases which in turn could significantly feedback into rising global temps. At that point the C02 sequestered by peat bogs could become irrelevant when viewed in a wider context. Tricky!

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        1. Yeah but no but I refrained from mentioning the equally tricky question of reactive P flux on re-wetting - as do peeps in general because nobody really wants to let that genie out what with water having this irresistible urge to flow downhill and all so however much we slow the flow it gets there in the end and mixes with nitrate-enriched drainage and bingo it's eutrophication all the way and anyroad up I wouldn't get fussed-up about the C-sequestration issue as the functional benefits of SOM operate locally and in quite a short time frame and unlike nature - especially Marlins - atmospheric gases really do have no boundaries except in the feeble minds of those engaged in the Emissions Trading Fraud so as for the irrelevance index think lignite and the collapse of Energiewende - no need to travel further east ...

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  3. I have asked myself many times as a United Utility shareholder why the management of this company still permits and encourages grouse shooting and heather burning on their estates in the Forest of Bowland, it just does not make economic sense.

    The financial income the company receive from their shooting tenants is miniscule compared with the tens of millions of £'s the company receives annually from their customers.

    Then of course there is the ongoing risks associated with the continued use of lead shot throughout the company's water catchments in Bowland. Just who's interest are United Utilities thinking about here; clearly it's not the so called 'protected' raptors the company have a statutory duty to protect that once thrived upon their moorland catchments in the Forest of Bowland.

    Not too long ago there were estimated to be at least 8 nesting pairs of peregrines established on moorland in Bowland owned by United Utilities, today only a single pair remain.

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  4. Perhaps it is now time to also petition for banning intensive pheasant and partridge-rearing shoots in the lowlands too. And ask the GCWT to publish their research into the direct effects of the high numbers of pheasants and partridges on woodland and hedgerow wildlife (including reptiles, butterflies and other insects, ...) ??

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