Bio-diversity threat is growing around world
Published at 21:51, Tuesday, 08 June 2010
IN 2002, the world’s governments committed themselves to making big cuts in the rate of bio-diversity loss by 2010.
It is now clear that those targets have not been met and the threats to bio-diversity around the world are still growing.
The launch of 2010 as International Year of Biodiversity therefore brings a renewed focus on the need for more action.
So what is biodiversity? Quite simply, it is the variety of life around us. It is the whole range of living things on Earth as well as the places where they live. It is essential for sustaining the natural living systems that provide us with healthy food, fuel, health and wealth.
Cumbria is particularly rich in both habitats and species. The county is home to many rare and endangered species such as the red squirrel, the barn owl, the natterjack toad and the brown hare.
It also has habitats of special interest such as blanket bog, hay meadows, upland oak and ash woods and limestone pavements.
Many farmers and landowners in Cumbria are committed, through stewardship schemes, to improving the environment on their land.
And the maintenance of unimproved meadows and lowland pastures on farms are bringing about an increased diversity of flowers and plants. These meadows are important habitats for the brown hare and curlew.
Farmers and Natural England have worked with FWAG to restore 20 hectares of hay meadows over the last year within the Lake District National Park and the Orton Fells area through the Hay Day Project.
This has involved the collection of seed and green hay from donor sites to be spread on new meadows to enhance plant and flower diversity.
These sites have yet to be monitored to assess the outcome – but the results are looking promising. It is hoped to restore a further 20 hectares this year – so we need the help of farmers to identify flower-rich meadows for donor sites or former meadows suitable for restoration.
Other Cumbrian farmers have made their own contributions to conserving bio-diversity within the county by simple but effective actions. A farmer in the Pennines has put up three barn owl boxes in recent years and each one is being used.
John-Craig Swainson, who farms at Thursby, placed bird boxes inside metal gateposts that were erected on the farm.
Eleven of 13 of the boxes are now occupied. His cousin Paul, left a few small holes in the stonework when building a small sandstone bridge over a stream on his farm and these have provided suitable nesting sites for birds over the last year.
These examples show that protecting diversity does not need to be an expensive or time-consuming job.
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk