Broubster Leans RSPB reserve. Looking south, through a sea of Cotton grass / Bog cotton

What is Futurescapes?

We’ve chosen the name Futurescapes for our UK-wide programme of landscape-scale conservation initiatives.

Thinking big for nature

The UK landscape is like a jigsaw puzzle. It's made up of different sized pieces that are owned by different people, from local authorities and communities to farmers, companies and governments.

We would like to talk to these landowners, particularly in our priority areas. Many species continue to decline and most exist in fragments of once widespread habitats. Working in partnership through Futurescapes, we aim to make UK landscapes more wildlife-friendly. You can find our priority areas on the map on the Futurescapes homepage.

Why bigger is better

As well as making nature reserves and protected areas the best they can be for nature, we've got to work on the pieces of land between them. This will help to join up fragments of habitat. Connecting the fragments to create larger areas is important because:

  • You find more plants and animals in larger areas
  • The species that most need help are usually found in larger areas
  • Different habitats are home to different species.
  • The more habitats there are, the more creatures there are
  • Animals are already moving as a result of climate change, so we need to accommodate these movements
Aerial view of Newport Wetlands

Biodiversity loss

2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity. But we failed to meet the target of halting biodiversity loss.

Despite many successes, especially through nature reserves and species recovery projects, it is clear our current tools are not sufficient to conserve nature into the future. We need to begin conservation at a landscape scale.

Our Futurescapes project sets out an ambitious programme of action but it will not be enough on its own. We need others across the UK to make this approach successful.
Until recently, landscape-scale conservation has been hindered by a lack of funding and insufficient support from policy makers. However, this has now improved in England with the publication of the Natural Environment White Paper. We'll be watching closely to see how this develops.

The new target to halt biodiversity loss is now 2020, so landscape-scale conservation must happen fast. It will make a vital contribution to our collective attempt to meet the 2020 target.

Now is the time to turn the ambition into reality and work together to protect the UK's natural resources and wildlife.

Member of the Highland Biological Recording Group conducting a "Bioblitz" survey for insects, spiders & plants by sweep-netting insects, Forsinard Flows RSPB nature reserve, Sutherland, Highland region, Scotland

Our calls to government

To enable wildlife to flourish across the UK we are calling for the following government commitments:

  • Fully meet all statutory responsibilities in relation to the environment, especially those relating to species and habitats.
  • Recognise the importance of landscape-scale nature conservation and how it builds on the success of the trusted approaches of protected areas and species conservation.
  • Take the lead in ensuring landscape-scale conservation is added to the delivery options for nature.
  • Ensure appropriate policy frameworks are in place to facilitate the landscape-scale approach.
  • Introduce innovative mechanisms for funding landscape-scale conservation and ensure that public spending does not have an adverse effect on the natural resource base.
  • Undertake government-led pilot projects to test the landscape-scale approach. Government agencies should be at the forefront of piloting this approach so they can not only share lessons learned with other stakeholders, but also incorporate lessons learned into policy making.

Get involved

We'd like to speak to all landowners within our priority areas. Check the map on the Futurescapes homepage to find out where these are.

If you own some land and want to do your bit for wildlife, get in touch. We will be talking to many landowners and will seek to co-ordinate approaches locally as we work together to create more space for nature.

We are skilled land managers. We have lots of experience working with a range of landowners, helping them to access public money to support their land management.

Futurescapes is not a new protection designation. It is a voluntary approach based on partnership. There are many rewards for being wildlife-friendly and we can help you make the most of those.

The more people and organisations who take part, the more habitats will be linked up for wildlife. Join in and be part of something big.

What can you do to make land better for wildlife?

There are several things you can do without affecting the way you use your land.

  • Increase the areas of habitat under conservation management
  • Provide links between different sites
  • Use land management techniques which are more sympathetic to wildlife.
  • Protect wildlife sites from the impacts of actions in the wider countryside, eg development.

We can offer you advice and information about all of these - just get in touch to chat through your options.

RSPB Cirl Bunting Re-introduction Project, Chris Townend with a farmer, discussing habitat & farm managemen in Cornwall, England