“Conservation is not preservation”  Discuss.

That was the title of an exam essay question set by my undergraduate conservation biology lecturer, the absolutely wonderful Dr Pat Morris (now retired from Royal Holloway University of London), back in the early 90’s. This is very much the European philosophy of conservation, as Europe’s natural habitats have been modified to such a large extent, or the remnants are so small, that you can’t just stick a fence around an area, label it “protected” and call it good. Intervention and management of habitats and species is frequently essential to achieve conservation goals, especially in the highly modified “natural” habitats of the UK.  I think in the last 20 years, this thinking has come to prevail more generally, but in my 4-year hiatus between high school and university I spent about a year or so heavily involved with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (now the Trust for Conservation Volunteers ) undertaking practical conservation tasks that ranged from habitat restoration projects (hedging, coppicing, pulling up/cutting down invasive plants) to public access projects (building stiles, pathways, bridges, fences) that keep public rights of way open.

Fast-forward through 20-years of flat/apartment living, and I find myself living in a house with a pretty nice backyard, and its not long (about a month) before my inner conservation volunteer breaks free. This blog will report on my efforts to convert this typical suburban yard into one dominated by native species.

House and yard satellites from google earth in summer (top) and google maps (bottom) in winter. Green boundary indicates in the top one indicates the property line

… more soon

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