Monday, June 02, 2014

Making farmland work for biodiversity - a free talk in the University of Dundee Zoology Museum

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :

Improving the British countryside for wildlife: Farmland birds, Farmers and Politicians
A free talk by Dr Dave Parish, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
Tuesday 3rd June at 6pm
D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, Carnelley Building, University of Dundee

Dr Parish
Our Zoology Museum events programme continues next Tuesday with a free talk exploring the impact of farming in the UK and how it has affected birds and other species.

Farming practices in the UK have evolved dramatically in recent years and have changed the British countryside enormously, not least as a habitat for wildlife where the impacts have mostly been negative. The bird life associated with farmland demonstrates this with very large population declines recorded over the same time span. Much of the research of The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust has been targeted at this area and has produced measures that can help bird numbers recover. However, these are usually made available to farmers via Government schemes, which to date have been largely unsuccessful. Dave’s talk will consider why this is and how the schemes might be improved.

Management such as planting seed-bearing crops for birds, which provide a valuable winter food resource, and conservation headlands, which encourage insect populations during the summer, are readily available and known to have positive impacts on bird numbers. However, they are most easily implemented by farmers through agri-environment schemes and research shows that these packages have limited success in halting the loss of biodiversity. This talk will discuss what might be needed to improve the impact these schemes have on biodiversity.

Dave Parish has been an ecologist all his life. He studied bugs in his garden from an early age and went on to further his studies at Bangor and Durham Universities, before joining GWCT in 1997. He now runs the Trust’s lowland research in Scotland where he has focused on farmland birds and in particular working alongside farmers to develop practical measures to aid their conservation without making the farmers’ lives a misery!

The talk takes place at 6pm in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, Carnelley Building, University of Dundee. Admission is free and there is no need to book, but latecomers may not be admitted.