Every year, there is a day dedicated by the United Nations to raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity across the world. This is the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB for short), which is held on 22nd May.
Each IDB aims to raise awareness surrounding a particular theme: this year, it is “building a shared future for all life”. This aims to highlight that biodiversity is the foundation which we can build upon in order to tackle many of the challenges currently facing people globally.
Species are reliant upon healthy habitats for their survival, whilst humanity is also reliant on the ecosystem services that those habitats provide. This includes providing food and clean water; supporting livelihoods; and tackling the current climate crisis. Therefore, by providing the habitat required by threatened species and ensuring their sustainable use, we are supporting not only ourselves, but future generations also, taking us closer to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Indeed, the projects carried out by GWCT aim to demonstrate that restoring habitat is critical to conserving threatened species, yet it can go hand-in-hand with sustainable human activities. In Wales, one of our projects which aims to showcase this ethos is the Bro Cors Caron Sustainable Management Scheme. This is a Farmer Cluster based in mid-Wales whose objective is to reverse local biodiversity declines whilst also allowing for productive and profitable pastoral farming. Utilising the GWCT’s “three-legged stool” approach of providing suitable habitat, sufficient food and protection from predators, numerous conservation practices will be conducted throughout the life of the project. Here’s how those conservation practices will fit into the project area’s large farmland landscape:
- Species benefiting: Hedge-nesting birds e.g. House Sparrows, Blackbirds
- Planting hedges and double fencing them will provide great nesting habitat for birds, increase above ground carbon sequestration and act as great natural boundaries between fields.
Buffer and barrier strips
- Species benefiting: insects and small mammals
- Fencing off strips of grassland and watercourses will not only allow for long and tussocky grass to grow, but also reduce nutrient and sediment run-off into the watercourses.
- Species benefiting: Seed-eating birds e.g.Reed Buntings, Chaffinches
- Providing supplementary seed will ensure there is sufficient food available for granivorous birds to survive through the winter “hungry gap”, especially in seed-limited grasslands.
- Species benefiting: Ground nesting birds e.g. Curlews, Lapwings
- A Wildlife Warden on the ground will control the local fox, corvid and rodent populations, aiming to reduce the impact of these predators on vulnerable species during their breeding attempts.
Nest box provision
- Species benefiting: Cavity-nesting birds e.g. Pied Flycatchers, Great Tits
- Woodcrete nest boxes will offer additional nesting sites, whilst also protecting the occupants from predation and ensuring the nest boxes last a long time.
There are eight farms participating in the project, who farm mostly for sheep and beef cattle. Their land encompasses around 1,900 hectares. The project area borders Cors Caron NNR, a nature reserve managed by Natural Resources Wales which is one of the largest actively growing raised bogs in lowland Britain. The local communities of Tregaron and Pontrhydfendigaid are a stone’s throw away from the project area. Schools and various local organisations will be invited to engage with activities on the farms.