Simon's Blog - Wildlife vs Humans
The Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) team were at the fantastic Hadleigh Show last weekend talking to people about the nationally designated landscapes and the work done to conserve and enhance them.
What struck me most was the number of people that wanted to talk about wildlife. What they had seen, where they had seen it and often what they were doing to encourage more wildlife.
This came back to me when I heard about a report published by the National Academy of Sciences that was led by Prof Ron Milo. The report records some facts that came as a surprise to me, such as 82% of the earth’s biomass (ie the amount of living matter) is plants and that the 7.5billion people make up just 0.01% of the earth’s biomass.
The report further records that since the dawn of civilisation humanity has caused the loss of 83% of wild mammals and half the plants. Put this against the interest of many people in wildlife and the benefits that can be accrued from getting out to see some of our wildlife then it feels like more needs to be done.
These benefits are recognised as personal ones to our physical and mental health, but they can also be extended to an economic benefit too. The tourism industry in the Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONBs are worth over £250 million a year. Much of that industry is based on the fantastic landscapes and the wildlife it supports.
There have been many outstanding examples of humans intervening and helping build up the numbers and diversity of wildlife, at a local, national and international level. Humans have the knowledge and skills to make this happen, I suppose it comes down to whether there is a will.
Having spoken to so many people at the Hadleigh Show, it would seem that there is a desire to help wildlife. That will appears to come from all sections of society. Perhaps we can have our cake and eat it. There are many fantastic organisations that can make this happen and they deserve our support.
First published in the East Anglian Daily Times on 26 May 2018