Whilst we have seen some great success stories in Wales- the acquisition and management of new nature reserves and designated areas, the recovery of the otter- all is not well and many species and habitats continue to decline.
Outside our protected areas, habitats have been lost on an unprecedented scale. Across Britain, 97% of our wildflower meadows have disappeared and 90% of our heathland. As the demand for land for agriculture, housing and development increased, so the room for wildlife and natural processes decreased. Woodlands were cleared, wetlands drained,
rivers straightened and hedgerows removed. As a result:
- Water now flows more quickly through the landscape into our towns and cities, and drains faster even in our urban areas due to loss of permeable surfaces in gardens
- Valuable soils have been washed or blown away, undermining the ecological security of our communities.
- Statistics abound of how wildlife is struggling to thrive, restricted as it is to such isolated patches. That struggle will get harder as our climate changes.
People are suffering too from a profound separation from the natural world. This is bad for our health, our happiness and also bad for our future. We depend upon natural processes for clean water, food, flood protection and climate control – for our ecological security.