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rare arable plants
Stepping Up for Nature
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“Digging for Wildlife”: The Economics of Food Security
Increases in food prices have raised consumer concerns around the affordability of food and our future food security. In today's blog, RSPB Environmental Economist Donal McCarthy tells us what recent trends in food prices might mean for food security and wildlife, both in the UK and more widely....
3 May 2013
What do chimps and tigers have to do with food and farming?
We've heard a lot this week about growing food in the UK and how British farmers can do their bit for wildlife. But what difference do our food choices make to the wider world? Today we hear from Laura Stevens about the effect our buying habits can have on rainforests and it's very special wildlife...
2 May 2013
Going bananas for biodiversity
I walked in to my office this morning and found a cake tin sitting on my desk. I haven't seen the results of what came out of it yet, but apparently the polar bear it was used for made a little boy very happy on his 4th birthday! Funny really, as last night I was in a baking mood myself and made...
1 May 2013
Beefing up on biodiversity - How can I shop for meat and help wildlife?
While researching my article for Birds magazine, I had lots of suggestions for farms to use as case studies from RSPB staff all over the UK. One suggestion that particularly inspired me was the work that Amanda, Chris and Denise are doing on Peelhams Farm. So much so that I’ve just placed my first...
30 Apr 2013
Food for thought
If you’ve received the latest issue of Birds, you’ll know that I’ve challenged myself to shop in a way that means my cupboards are filled not only with tasty food that’s good for me, but also grown in a way that’s good for wildlife. I’ve always been conscious of what...
29 Apr 2013
What is ‘ High Nature Value’ (HNV) farming?
By Deborah Deveney, HNV Campaign Leader The concept of ‘High Nature Value’ (HNV) farming has been around for some time, but poor understanding of the terminology has meant little use of the phrase. In a UK context, HNV farming is mainly associated with extensive beef cattle and sheep...
31 Jan 2013
LIFE under the spotlight
What do you get if you mix an enthusiastic and dedicated bunch of farmers, volunteers and RSPB staff and stick them in front of an international audience from across the agriculture sector for a day? Lots of interesting discussions, real insight to the value of our farmland conservation work and plenty...
3 Dec 2012
Farmers speak out
The battle to save vital agrienvironment schemes continues - see Martin Harper's blog today to read what farmers are saying to David Cameron. And don't forget to sign the petition on www.rspb.org.uk/steppingup to help wildlife-friendly farmers if you haven't already - today is your last...
20 Nov 2012
Making space for nature alongside producing milk
This spring we embarked on a new project with some of the dairy farmers who have contracts to supply Tesco with milk. We are working with these dairy farmers to find practical measures that they can integrate into their systems to help wildlife. The farms have received bird surveys through the Volunteer...
9 Nov 2012
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...
Stories. We all love stories. It’s engrained into us. At the moment my five year old is learning to read, and The Bedtime Story has become an important fixture of our family's daily routine. This was brought home to me recently as I helped show a group of local NFU members around Middleton...
7 Nov 2012
Helping farmland bird populations to soar in the South West
From Kevin Rylands, Farmland Conservation Advisor (South West England) The South West Farmland Bird Initiative (SWFBI) is an exciting partnership project that was set up to specifically help reverse the decline of farmland birds across Wessex. The Initiative targets nationally important farmland bird...
31 Oct 2012
While stocks last..
Fancy filling your belly for free? If like me you are a frugal type and not easily embarrassed, this is the time of year to scour Fen roadsides. Lorries piled to the brim with spuds, onions and carrots are trundling back and forth as fast as they can go from the field to the packing plant. You can...
20 Oct 2012
How far would you go to raise a family?
Harvest is never a particularly busy time for farm wildlife advice! With my phone growing cobwebs, what better time to down Stewardship applications and escape on holiday to Iceland? A fabulous choice for nature enthusiasts as it turns out. As well as breathtaking close-up views of Humpback Whales...
21 Sep 2012
Mountains and Moor
Its an easy thing to be patriotic, I’m an Englishman, hatched and reared among the chalk horses of the Wiltshire countryside, and that for me is, as they say, where the heart is. Now living in North Wales, the same fondness the locals have for their homeland is evident, and understandably so...
18 Sep 2012
Keeping yourself grounded
By Nick Tomalin, Wessex Farmland Projects Manager Image courtesy of RSPB Images. Spreading hedge parsley. As an enthusiastic nine year old I was always looking up. Partly this was down to a cheery disposition, partly because I was shorter than everyone else at that age, and partly it was due...
30 Aug 2012
A wildlife-friendly farming BBQ
Every year, Hope Farm hosts the barbeque for our Conservation Science team, and this year all of the food was sourced from wildlife-friendly farmers, right down to the cooking oil! We had organic pork from our 2011 Welsh Nature of Farming Award winner, Gethin Owen, beef from LEAF Demonstration Farmer...
9 Aug 2012
The thrills of Combines and golden fields!
I have to confess I get as excited about the first combine harvester coming into action each summer as I do about the first swallows & swifts arriving back from Africa each spring. While the arrival of the first swallow symbolises the start of summer, and a feat of nature, that this little bird...
24 Jul 2012
Plump and Chirpy
by Stuart Croft - Cirl Bunting Reintroduction Field Officer Go back a couple of generations and the plight of one particular species was not a good one. The cirl bunting – a sparrow-sized bird, closely related to the yellowhammer - gets its name from an Italian translation meaning plump and...
5 Jul 2012
Here’s one we prepared earlier...
I LOVE this time of year! Is it the long days? The celebrations? The countryside bustling with life? All these things! But most of all it's because it’s the time of year I get to make farmers pose self-consciously for photos in patches of pretty flowers! Awk-ward! Meet my latest victim...
29 Jun 2012
What is the West Country?
If, like me, you’re not from round ‘ere, then maybe it’s cream teas, ice creams on the beach, the wilds of Dartmoor, or rolling green hills. If you are “south westerly” then you probably have a very different opinion! Actually, for me, and RSPB, the West Country is Cornwall...
30 May 2012
What’s your beef?
Some wrongly label extensive livestock farming systems as ‘inefficient’. A case study of the livestock farming system on one of our upland reserves highlights that these systems can provide a lot more than first meets the eye. Following a successful day at last year's ‘National...
21 May 2012
It's Good to Talk
Weather. We all love to talk about it, none more so than farmers. Here in the Cambridgeshire Fens we are in the paradoxical position of having just had the second wettest April since records began but being one of the counties still worst hit by drought. As you can imagine that’s giving us plenty...
11 May 2012
By Andrew Taylor, Great Bustard LIFE+ Project Adviser Thanks to a reintroduction project on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, the great bustard can now be seen on farms in south west England for the first time since the early 19 th Century. Perhaps the UK’s rarest farmland bird, this spectacular...
24 Apr 2012
What's in a name?
Mention the word 'farmer' in a sentence and most people would understand that you that you were talking about someone who produces food of some description. That's a farmer's job, right? Hmmm. What if that same person was described as a 'multifunctional rural resource manager'...
23 Apr 2012
The Village Bunting’s Out for Easter in the Fens
Spotted on my way home from work – a 100-strong mixed flock of buntings and yellowhammers , with the odd tree sparrow thrown in for good measure. Tweeting, jangling hissing and popping away, they are restless, exuberant and full of spring energy, torn between winter flocking behaviour and breaking...
6 Apr 2012
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