Our vision is for people close to nature and land and seas rich in wildlife. The nature reserves we've saved are vital refuges for wildlife but they alone are not enough if nature is to thrive everywhere. We need to create Living Landscapes where wildlife habitats are bigger, better managed and more joined-up.
Nature conservation in Wales has traditionally focused on the preservation of specific sites. But outside these few places, natural habitats have been lost on an unprecedented scale and many species, both common and rare, are in long-term decline. As the demand for land for agriculture, housing and development has increased, so the room for wildlife and natural processes has decreased. This has resulted in small oases of wildlife-rich protected land, such as nature reserves, becoming surrounded by an otherwise inhospitable landscape for many plants and animals.
These isolated areas of protected land are now the basic minimum we need to conserve nature into the future. The founders of many Wildlife Trusts fought to save these special places - woods, marshes, meadows, moorland - but these were emergency measures, taken against a tide of widespread destruction to our natural habitats; refuges from which it was always hoped that nature would re-emerge when the time was right.
To achieve our vision of a Living Landscape, where wildlife is flourishing and recovering from past decline, we need to think bigger and longer-term and build on the foundations laid by the work of past generations of conservationists. We need whole river catchments and entire tracts of upland with ambitious landscape-scale objectives that may take many decades to achieve.
The Wildlife Trusts have already started this process and, often through our large-scale Living Landscape schemes, we are working with people and communities to:
• restore damaged and fragmented blocks of habitat
• recreate habitats and natural corridors in the landscape
• reconnect these habitats, linking them to the green space in our cities, towns and villages and rebuilding nature in our midst so that we can all benefit from the essential services it provides.
In a Living Landscape...
- Wildlife is abundant and flourishing, both in the countryside and our towns and cities
- Whole landscapes and ecosystems have been restored;
- Wildlife is able to move freely through these landscapes and adapt to the effects of climate change
- Communities are benefitting fully from the fundamental services that healthy ecosystems provide
- Everyone has access to wildlife-rich green spaces and can enjoy and be inspired by the natural world.
Together with local and national partners, we can create Living Landscapes that support, provide, inspire and renew.