Ancient woodland and precious heathland especially rich in wildlife
Cattle on Greenham Common by Rob Appleby
Nationally acclaimed wildflower meadows providing a vital refuge for wading birds
Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve by Kerry Lock
A patchwork of meadows supporting a diverse population of birds, plants and insects
Upper Ray Meadows by BBOWT
We are putting biodiversity back into our countryside with large-scale projects that combine land ownership, long-term planning and strong partnerships.
BBOWT was founded in 1959 by local ecologists who could see the extent of harm being done to the wonderfully rich natural environment of the three counties. For over 50 years we have worked with local people to make Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire richer in wildlife.
To date, wildlife conservation has been focused on protecting small pockets of land for wildlife, such as nature reserves. While nature reserves are important refuges for wildlife, it is becoming increasingly clear that these isolated areas of habitat surrounded by relatively hostile urban, agricultural and industrial landscapes are not enough. Some of our most endangered wildlife requires greater support to survive the many pressures of human activity.
The way forward is nature conservation on a landscape scale, the creation of a Living Landscape. A Living Landscape is a ‘recovery plan for nature’, championed by The Wildlife Trusts since 2006, to help create a resilient and healthy environment rich in wildlife with ecological security for people.
In a Living Landscape...
- Wildlife can move between suitable habitats,
- There is reduced isolation between populations, which reduces the chance of local extinction,
- There are buffers against the effects of global warming.
Living Landscape project activities
- Management of core wildlife sites within project areas, such as BBOWT reserves and other designated areas,
- Purchase of new land,
- Provision of management advice to local landowners,
- Investment in landscape-scale management and restoration.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Living Landscape?
- What makes BBOWT's Living Landscape areas special?
- How does your Living Landscape work differ from what you did before?
- Where does the idea of Living Landscapes come from?
- Does land within a Living Landscape receive any special protection from development?
- Is your work on Living Landscapes supported by other agencies and government?
- What money is available for landowners to do the ‘right thing’ for wildlife?
In short, it’s about working with other stakeholders to achieve habitat restoration at a landscape scale.
It’s about linking-up habitats for wildlife and connecting people with their local landscape
We selected areas with wildlife interest across a significant area where we felt we could make a difference through working with other landowners and partners and local people.
The key differences are scale, partnership and working outside of our own nature reserve boundaries.
A review of the impact the conservation movement has had on biodiversity along with the potential impacts of climate change, made it clear how important it is to work on the species-poor gaps in the landscape that are preventing species from responding to threats by moving through from one wildlife hotspot to another.
Our Living Landscape areas may contain some designated land (e.g. Sites of Special Scientific Interest) but other important sites (e.g. Local Wildlife Sites) are not legally protected.
The idea of working at a landscape scale was described in the Natural Environment White Paper. Many of our local and national partners (both statutory and non-statutory) also support this approach and our work.
The conservation principles of Living Landscape are based on the findings from Making Space for Nature: Sir John Lawton, 2010. (A review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Networks)
Some improvements for wildlife can both save money and help wildlife, like cutting hedges just once every three years. The government runs grant schemes for wildlife improvements using funding from the Common Agricultural Policy. These are currently under review, and information about new schemes will be available from the Natural England website.
The Campaign for the Farmed Environment provide information on voluntary measures landmanagers can put in place that can help wildlife, and their information will be updated as new agri-environment schemes are created under the CAP.