Open Access articles

Below are open access articles from ECOS: A Review of Conservation 36 (3/4) Winter 2015. If you like what you see here, why not subscribe? A subscription to BANC will give you access to the latest ECOS issue and the ECOS archive dating back to 1996.

Open access issue: ECOS 36 (3/4), Winter 2015

Download the full Winter 2015 issue here or see individual articles below.

ECOS 36 (3/4) Editorial: Loving the Greenwood. Geoffrey Wain

‘It’s not about the money’ says David Blake in this issue, as he considers conservation’s glum situation. This is a risky, inflammatory statement, not least given the Chancellor’s 2015 Autumn Statement which announced further deep bites into the budgets of Defra and its agencies. Environment and wildlife activity is falling further down government’s priority list. The chips are down. In this edition we begin our look at Revitalising Conservation, exploring the dip in conservation’s fortunes, and suggesting how to regain confidence, purpose and influence. Our contributors form an eclectic mix, including a farmer, storyteller, wildlife photographer, shaman, blogger, youth workers, and founder of a rewilding charity. We also welcome friends from the e-networking group Values in Nature
and the Environment. VINE are keen to communicate the love of nature which is apparent amongst the conservation workforce, but is too often overlooked. The touchy-feely side of our subject isn’t easy for some of us to embrace. And VINE go further. They recognise a sense of pantheism in the way some people relate to the natural world. Perhaps it is these deep roots and this elemental strength that we need to call upon while nature conservation finds itself downtrodden.

It is no surprise, maybe, to see connections with wellbeing so strongly pushed by wildlife groups at present, including the desire for a Nature and Wellbeing Bill. The Bill has been sidestepped by government in favour of a 25 year plan for nature’s recovery, but the new era of policy must have a quality of life dimension, to press the point that we ourselves need nature for all its different worth, whether or not we see ourselves as pantheists. Back to David Blake’s provocation: is he too brutal, or should we look beyond the resource problem as we try to revitalise? Austerity makes conservation bodies poorly equipped, whether for topical concerns like flood management, the routine matters of habitat care, visitor facilities and people engagement, or the more foundation work of research and monitoring. A beleaguered and cash-strapped workforce will feel ineffective. There’s no escaping the need to generate funds, both creatively and through nudging government, especially to stage a 25 year nature recovery plan. But David Blake is not alone amongst our authors in bemoaning conservation’s formulaic and lofty procedures. This is beyond the bureaucracy and contrived monitoring that farmer Martin Hole complains of in this issue. Revitalising conservation may need a change of mindsets, avoiding an elitist culture and a preoccupation with process at the expense of product. A greater focus on human-scale conservation, celebrated by Gavin Saunders, VINE and others in the following pages, may be a liberating force.

Download Editorial as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-1 Editorial

ECOS 36 (3/4) Winter 2015. In search of Nature’s renaissance people. Gavin Saunders

Abstract: Some voices say conservation needs to pull itself together and become a rigorous scientific, evidence-based discipline once again, ridding itself of its woolly, people-centred distractions. Others are turned off a coldly scientific approach and want a warmer, more human approach which delves deeper into wider culture. The modern challenge for conservationists is to span these extremes, and become cultural polymaths – and real people.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-2 In search of Nature’s renaissance people

ECOS 36 (3/4) Grounded thinking to grounded action – Steps to revitalising conservation. Sophie Lake and members of VINE


Abstract: This article reflects some views and discussion amongst members of VINE (Values in Nature and the Environment) on the challenges of revitalising nature conservation. Messages include the need to promote positive news, broaden the appeal of nature, link with other disciplines, and recognise a common love of the natural world.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-7 Grounded thinking to grounded action

ECOS 36 (3/4) Conservation wisdom: Looking back to look forward. David Blake


Abstract: People helping wildlife have worked the land for generations with commitment, passion and wisdom. State conservation action has been well intentioned but its formulaic processes have stifled initiative and endeavour. The best of the old needs to combine with what we trust in the new.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-11 Conservation wisdom

ECOS 36 (3/4) Nature conservation: barking up the wrong tree? Miles King


Abstract: Caring for nature is a message widely embraced by people and by businesses, yet much UK wildlife continues to decline. This article considers the contrast between the words and the action, and looks at some key choices for revitalising nature conservation.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-15 Nature Conservation

ECOS36 (3/4) Revitalising conservation – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Simon Ayres


Abstract: Nature conservation aims are not ambitious enough, nature reserves are too small, and the wider countryside is too inhospitable for wildlife to thrive. This article promotes land purchase, rewilding, and closer links with farming bodies as part of the answer to revitalising conservation in Britain.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-18 Revitalising conservation-The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

ECOS 36 (3/4) Evidence-based or evidence-blind? Priorities for revitalising conservation. Clive Hambler


Abstract: As conservationists pursue their goals of defending and managing the natural world, too often they stick to their prejudices. This article asks for greater realisation of the types of bias which can influence decisions and attitudes of conservation managers.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-22 Evidence-based or evidence-blind_

ECOS 36 (3/4) Managing for nature A farmer’s view on wildlife schemes. Martin Hole


Abstract: This article gives a farmer’s perspective of working with agri-environment schemes. Experience to date has been positive, with a track record of helping wildlife flourish on the farm. But farmers are wary of cumbersome processes, hence the jury is out on the new Countryside Stewardship scheme.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-26 Managing for nature

ECOS 36 (3/4) Where next for landscapescale conservation in England? Lisa Schneidau


Abstract: It’s been over three years since Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) started, as a first step towards putting the Lawton vision of ‘bigger, better, more and joined’ landscapes for nature into practice. Here’s a perspective on the highs and lows of landscape-scale conservation in England since that time – and some ideas on how to keep the vision active.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-30 Where next for landscape

ECOS 36 (3/4) Revitalising conservation: the fountain of youth. Hendrikus van Hensbergen and Kate Huggett


Abstract: This article explores how we can engage young people in conservation. Drawing on their work with Action for Conservation, the authors explore lessons from other disciplines which highlight the importance of collaboration across organisations, sectors and communities. They suggest that, above all, we must recognise young people as the revitalising tonic that they are and that conservation so desperately needs.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-38 Revitalising conservation- the fountain of youth

ECOS 36 (3/4) Iran’s greenest government ever. Janet MacKinnon


Abstract: On 17 November 2015, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a 15 point list of policy directives to address the country’s wide ranging environmental challenges. This article looks at the secular and religious background to this unprecedented announcement.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-44 Iran’s greenest government ever-


ECOS 36 (3/4) Book reviews


Inglorious: Conflict in the uplands. Mark Avery
Counting Sheep: A celebration of the pastoral heritage of Britain. Philip Walling
A Less Green and Pleasant Land: Our threatened wildlife. Norman Maclean
Learning with Nature: A how-to guide to inspiring children through outdoor games and activities. Marina Robb, Victoria Mew and Anna Richardson

Download reviews as PDF: ECOS 36 3-4-56 Book Reviews


Other Open Access Articles


ECOS 36 (2) Summer 2015. Freeing up nature – from ourselves and from market forces. Peter Shirley, p.2

This article is Open Access

Abstract: Economic forces in the UK are increasingly ranged against the natural world. Given the current era of tight resources and hostile politics, conservation groups should rethink some of their own values and act strategically to make progress.

Download article as PDF:  ECOS 36-2-2 Freeing up nature

ECOS 36 (1) Spring 2015. Re-freshing conservation: Cries from the heart

Abstract: Is conservation in a new crisis? Is the influence of the wildlife sector on the wane and are those who work in nature conservation becoming too demoralised to be effective? These have been perennial concerns much discussed in ECOS, but recent austerity measures limiting conservation activity have added to the woes. To gauge some grassroots views on the matter, ECOS sought comments from some close friends and allies. The resulting quotes, set out below, reveal a healthy fighting spirit…

Free for non-members!

Download article as PDF: ECOS 36-1-2 Re-freshing conservation


ECOS 35 (3/4) Winter 2014. Making real space for nature: a continuum approach to UK conservation. Steve Carver

Abstract: Traditional conservation concerns over wildlife loss, cherished habitats and landscape heritage are holding back more adventurous thinking on rewilding, species reintroductions and landscape-scale natural processes. A bolder vision for the UK countryside, with a range of ambitions for wildlife and landscape conservation could allow nature to flourish to its full potential.

Download as a PDF here: Ecos 35-3-4 Making real space for nature

ECOS 35 (3/4) Winter 2014. Experiments with the wild at the Oostvaardersplassen. Jamie Lorimer & Clemens Driessen

Abstract:This article draws on a discussion of the differences between laboratory and field experiments to examine the practices and politics of rewilding. The analysis focuses on
the Oostvaardersplassen, a flagship example that figures centrally in discussions about rewilding in Europe. The article reflects on the wider significance and potential of this wild experiment for conservation practice.

Download this article as a PDF: Ecos 35-3-44 Experiments with the wild at the Oostvaardersplassen

ECOS 35 (1) Spring 2014 Scratching the surface: let’s love our soils. David Hogan

Abstract: Acknowledging the importance of soils and threats to their quality are vital in land-use
policy for food production, flood protection, water quality, nature conservation and carbon storage. This article promotes a greater understanding of soils in the conservation sector and looks at some key examples of wise soil management.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 35-1-19 Scratching the surface – lets love our soils


ECOS 34 (2) Summer 2013. Saving Britain’s trees: countering the growing threat from invasive pests and disease. Clive Potter

Abstract: With the onset of ash die back, this article reviews the threats to tree health from invasive pests and diseases and considers how plant biosecurity might be improved, including through more effective regulation of the horticultural trade.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 34-2-25 Saving Britains trees

ECOS 34 (1) Spring 2013. Ecosystem Services – are we flogging a dead horse? David West

Abstract: Different parts of the natural world may well have inherent value to society but they also need to pay their way in a meaningful sense to ensure their existence. The economic value of such places needs to be tangible and not based on contrived economic exercises.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 34-1-2 Ecosystem Services


ECOS 33 (3/4) Winter 2012. Large-scale conservation in Great Britain: taking stock. Nicholas Macgregor, William Adams, Chris Hill, Felix Eigenbrod and Patrick Osborne

Abstract: Natural England has compiled a database of Large-Scale Conservation Projects and interviewed many practitioners involved in these schemes. This article reviews the findings to date and considers how the achievements of current and previous schemes can be taken forward.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 33 3-4-13 Large-scale conservation in Great Britain

ECOS 33 (1) Spring 2012. Today we live without them: the erasure of animals and plants in the language of ecosystem assessment. Arran Stibe

Abstract: This article examines the representation of animals and plants in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, showing how they are systematically erased from consciousness through a variety of linguistic devices. The consequences for engaging and motiving people in the UK who care about the wellbeing, welfare, and lives of animals and plants are discussed, and the conclusion calls for more balanced ways of representing the natural world.

Download article as PDF: ECOS 33-1-47 Today we live without them