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About this book Describes the development of the British nature conservation movement, from its roots in art, agriculture and aesthetics in the 16th century to the present day. Contents Introduction. The Why and the Wherefore 2. By: David Evans. Current promotions. Bestsellers in Environmental History. The government's approach to nature conservation in Great Britain has, since the establishment of the Nature Conservancy in , been to identify and protect prime areas of scientific interest as representative of the remaining natural and semi-natural biological, geological and physiographical areas in the country.
The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act enshrined the philosophy of habitat conservation through site designation; it did not incorporate earlier ideas of integrating nature conservation within the broader framework of emerging rural policy. From the s to the s a sectoral approach to rural land use policy was followed with each major land use - agriculture, forestry and nature conservation - following independent paths.
The major thrust of government policy was to increase output and productivity of forestry and agriculture by giving incentives in the form of grants and subsidies to promote efficiency and this caused a loss of many areas of high nature conservation value. This loss was exacerbated by the limited remit of the Nature Conservancy Council in relation to other land use policies.
Nature Conservancy Policy The principal function of the Nature Conservancy under the Act was to identify and establish by agreement, lease or purchase a series of National Nature Reserves. These reserves served the dual function of protecting the most important habitats and of providing an opportunity for detailed scientific research. Unlike the reserves where nature conservation is generally the primary land use, the conservation interest defined by the SSSIs has to co-exist with other land uses; the assumption was that agriculture and forestry were compatible with nature conservation objectives.
The main threat to the conservation interest was perceived to be land development in the sense in which that term was used in the Town and Country Planning Scotland Act In consequence, local planning authorities were only required to consult the Nature Conservancy before determining a proposal for development affecting a National Nature Reserve or SSSI. No such consultation was considered necessary in respect of proposals for agricultural improvement and afforestation. These activities were presumed to be environmentally benign. Landowners were perceived to be the true custodians of the countryside and trust was placed in them to maintain the conservation value of the countryside.
It was not even thought necessary to notify landowners of the conservation interest in an SSSI. The relationship between conservation and agriculture, which depended on the continuation of traditional land use practices, eroded as government policy encouraged increased output through the use of grants and subsidies which at that time took no account of nature conservation objectives. The Nature Conservancy Council was in a difficult position, unable to exert much influence on the rapidly developing farming and forestry sectors except in National Nature Reserves.
Major destruction of the conservation interest in SSSIs followed as they were largely unprotected. From the s it became increasingly obvious that significant habitat loss was taking place. This forced a reappraisal of policies for nature conservation. There were calls for the development control system to be extended to cover all forestry and agricultural activities in designated areas as well as in the wider countryside.
Such radical proposals were not favoured by those land-owning interests which had a deep-rooted belief in their role as stewards and their traditional freedom to manage land without interference.
Rob Lambert - The University of Nottingham
The Introduction of the Wildlife and Countryside Act Faced with pressure for reform the Conservative Government in introduced legislation to address the problem of species protection and habitat loss. Furthermore, the Bill made no proposals to tackle the principal cause of habitat loss, namely the production oriented agriculture and forestry sectors.
From , I held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship looking at the environmental history of the grey seal in twentieth century Britain. Other work has focused on the environmental history of the Scottish Highlands, the species history of birds and mammals, extinction and memory, conservation conflicts, the history of tourism and outdoor recreation in Britain, the rise of ecotourism and wildlife tourism etc.
Contact details. Connect with the University of Nottingham through social media and our blogs. Campus maps More contact information Jobs. Department of History. Home Departments. Print Email this Page. Search this Section. Expertise Summary I can supervise research students at UG or PG level in areas of British and global environmental history, species history, the history of nature conservation; the history of environmentalism; environmental management; landscape and environment, conservation conflicts; eco-tourism, wildlife tourism, sustainability, Antarctica and TV and Radio natural history.
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Teaching Summary Rob offers a range of 'environment' based modules that have wide multi-and-inter disciplinary appeal across the university, some historical, others more contemporary, but all fundamentally concerned… read more Research Summary Recent research endeavours have focused on conservation conflicts and so-called conflict species for example, birds of prey, or predatory mammals ; the alien and invasive species debate; the history… read more Recent Publications ROBERT A. Wild Britannia: environmental history, wildlife television and new publics in Britain.
Destination Nature: wildlife and the rise of domestic ecotourism in Britain, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge. Current Research Recent research endeavours have focused on conservation conflicts and so-called conflict species for example, birds of prey, or predatory mammals ; the alien and invasive species debate; the history of mass membership nature conservation organisations in the UK such as the RSPB, National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts, WWT; societal responses to conservation challenges and biodiversity loss; the rise of a domestic ecotourism agenda in Britain both within the NGO world and private sector; wildlife tourism and biodiversity conservation; marine ecotourism; human impacts and natural changes within species history; the multiple use of land; access and outdoor recreation; ideas of extinction and memory; concepts of rewilding; the history of wildlife and natural history television and radio.
Since , I have served on the Editorial Board of the international journal Environment and History Past Research Past research has focused on British environmental history post, with a particular emphasis on species history, landscape history, the history of nature conservation and changing human attitudes to Nature.
Our Vanishing Natural Heritage and the Wildlife Trusts: a century of influence and local action for nature and people. Autumn migration. The Winter Fens. Environmental History and Conservation Conflicts. YOUNG, eds. Cambridge University Press.
Understanding and managing conservation conflicts Trends in Ecology and Evolution.