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Archive by tag: Amy-Jane BeerReturn
Jun 23, 2022

From overdressed hares to furious falcons … an impassioned study of wildlife under threat that still manages to inspire hope

Sophie Pavelle has been busy. A science writer, presenter, maker of podcasts, ambassador for the Wildlife Trust and adviser to the RSPB, she’s also spent much of the last two years roving from Cornwall to Orkney in search of 10 species whose fortunes have been affected by human-induced climate change. More impressive still, she’s done so in the middle of a pandemic and while eschewing wherever possible high-carbon forms of transport – and she is still only 27. Plug this woman into the grid.

Forget Me Not is not a hymn to those species – nothing so reverent. It’s an openhearted, superbly nerdish fan letter. With apologies for the spoiler, she doesn’t always find the species. But what she does find is a detailed perspective on the interconnectedness of the climate and biodiversity crises and ways to solve them. In short: it’s complicated, and we’re messing up big time. We have, Pavelle tells us as kindly as anyone can, created a world that “can barely continue to absorb our mistakes”.

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Mar 10, 2022

A conservationist finds that efforts to restore this cherished landscape to a more natural state aren’t always welcomed

About 140 years before its designation as a national park, William Wordsworth described the Lake District as “a sort of national property in which every man has a right and an interest”. Like other English national parks, however, this one is mostly in private hands. It also lacks the wilderness associated with designated landscapes elsewhere. But it is firmly a public asset: loved by millions, and subject to the demands of landowners, tenants, taxpayers and visitors from around the world. For generations these demands have centred on agricultural heritage and aesthetics, but increasingly prominent on the list of “what the Lake District ought to do for us” are ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water management and biodiversity.

Lee Schofield is a country boy who grew into an ecologist and conservationist, and as such he embodies the “messy middle” in the old and wearisome war between town and country. He’s an easy person to like – thoughtful, quietly spoken, a watcher and listener, a writer and singer of folky songs. But he’s found himself in a place and a job in which perhaps his most important characteristic is resilience. The place is Haweswater in the north-eastern edge of the Lake District national park, and the job is overseeing the ecological restoration of a landscape on behalf of the RSPB, who rent the land from United Utilities. The site includes Haweswater reservoir and two traditional hill farms.

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