The Wildlife Trusts launch an initiative to kickstart nature’s recovery

Water vole - Terry Whittaker 

Today The Wildlife Trusts launch 30 by 30 - a bold mission to start putting nature into recovery across at least 30% of land and sea by 2030.

 

Nature has suffered serious declines for decades with 26% of UK mammals in danger of disappearing altogether and hedgehogs, red squirrels, bats, turtle doves, cuckoo, water voles and basking sharks all at risk. It is not only individual species that are threatened; the collapse in the abundance of nature also means many of our ecosystems are not functioning as they should.

Lack of wild places and fragmentation of those that remain has had a disastrous effect. Only 10% of land is protected in the UK and much of this is in poor condition. That’s why The Wildlife Trusts recently called on Government to introduce a new landscape designation for England called ‘Wildbelt.’ This would be for the purpose of putting land into nature’s recovery, such as through the creation of wildlife corridors, natural regeneration of woodland, restoration of wetlands, and rewilding.

We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal – to raise £30 million and kickstart the process of securing at least 30% of land and sea in nature’s recovery by 2030. We will buy land to expand and join-up our nature reserves; we’ll work with others to show how to bring wildlife back to their land, and we’re calling for nature’s recovery through a new package of policy measures including big new ideas like Wildbelt.

The next ten years must be a time of renewal, of rewilding our lives, of green recovery. We all need nature more than ever and when we succeed in reaching 30 by 30 we’ll have wilder landscapes that store carbon and provide on-your-doorstep nature for people too. Everyone can support and help us to succeed.
Craig Bennett, Chief Executive
The Wildlife Trusts

All funds raised by 30 by 30 will go towards nature recovery projects that will put new land aside for nature as well as repair and link-up existing, fragmented, wild areas to enable wildlife to move around. The aim is to bring nature everywhere Including to the places where people live.

The 30 by 30 projects range from land acquisition to peatland repair and species reintroduction. BCN CEO Brian Eversham explores and outlines what this means in a blog for the BCN region. National examples include:

· Lost fenland to be restored – Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust aims to restore 50 hectares of the county’s lost peat-fenland at Bourne North Fen to become a home for a wide variety of wildlife, linking up important nature reserves, creating a multi-purpose wetland to store water for agriculture, improve water quality for consumers, and underpin local eco-tourism economy.

· Beaver reintroduction and farmland bird recovery – Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust plan to reintroduce beavers to the Island. A complex of wetland reserves in the Eastern Yar Valley offer an exciting opportunity for this wonderful ecosystem engineer to work its magic. The Trust is also working on returning missing farmland birds such as cirl bunting and chough to the Island.

· Converting low-grade agricultural land into nature areas near homes – Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is changing the way nature reserves are acquired giving highest priority to land with low existing wildlife value where the potential for biodiversity gain is greatest. These areas will be transformed into new species-rich wild areas that will be freely accessible to people and will help capture carbon and prevent flooding.

We know that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world and we’re facing the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Put plainly, our wildlife is disappearing and at an alarming rate. Some of our most-loved species are threatened. We’re talking about hedgehogs, barn owls and red squirrels – not the exotic wildlife we think of when we talk about extinction. But there is hope. The Wildlife Trusts have an audacious plan to raise £30 million to heal at least 30% of our land and sea for nature so it can recover by 2030. We can all help them make it happen.
Liz Bonnin
science and natural history broadcaster and ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts

There are lots of ways to support the campaign, from becoming a member of your local Wildlife Trust to fundraising or making a donation towards their work to restore nature.