Could Evaluating Biodiversity Be Its Salvation?–the-first-country-to-value-its-natural-environment-8955419.html

Scotland will become the first state in the world to put a price on the value of its natural environment and the benefits it provides, in a pioneering project which could transform the way it [and other countries] makes decisions on planning.

Academics have estimated that nature is worth between £21.5bn and £23bn a year to Scotlandís economy, but Scotlandís First Minister Alex Salmond wants a far more in-depth study. Supporters of the scheme argue that because most development decisions are based on narrow economic considerations, in terms of the direct costs and benefits, natural resources such as peat should be valued in the same way to ensure their importance is not overlooked.

Peat bogs act as water regulators, soaking up rainfall and slowing water flows, helping to curb the frequency and intensity of floods. They also purify the water, store huge amounts of carbon and are important for biodiversity, by nurturing wildlife such as breeding waders.

Speaking at the worldís first ìnatural capital forum in Edinburgh, Mr Salmond said: An early focus for the Scottish Forum will be on peatlands, which is especially fitting since they form a substantial part of the Scottish landscape and are widely recognised as important in climate change mitigation, biodiversity and water quality.

He pledged to calculate the monetary value of Scotlandís natural capital, the cost of depleting it and to communicate its importance across business and society. He will also set up collaborative projects to take ìtangible actionî to protect Scotlandís natural capital.

Jonathan Hughes, director of Conservation at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, welcomed the move. [Take for instance,] the value of mangrove is £1,000 per hectare. But if you factor in storm protection, the fact fish use them to breed in and their climate regulation  the mangroves are worth around £21,000 per hectare to the local communities,î Mr Hughes explained.

However, campaigners from groups such as the World Development Movement descended on the conference dressed as dodgy salesmen pretending to sell Ben Nevis. They claim giving nature a value amounts to an attempt to privatise it.



November Pony Move.

Today (Wednesday) went really well: I left home @ 10am and picked-up livestock trailer from the Ashdown Forest Centre. Later,using the truck, I drew the 32 ponies of Herd 1, 3/4 mile across the grazing site in the Ashdown Forest area, my four concealed†helpers zipping-up the electric fencing at the required moment. Once corralled, 4 ponies were selected and loaded on the trailer for Chailey. 12 other ponies were then selected for the National Trust’s Birling Gap on the East Sussex coast near Eastbourne, the remainder being released. Bob our haulier, arrived at 2pm; we soon had the 12 ponies loaded and away some 20 minutes later. We then took the other 4 ponies down to Lane End Common at Chailey. All finished by 4pm.

Weather today was wet and a touch cold including a heavy rain and hail shower as a weather front passed through. (After loading of course, the sky transformed into a great wide spread of clear blue!). With the ponieís coats being wet, this made recognising individual ponies more difficult as we selected who stayed and who went where. Another top-draw day, with un-stinting, brilliant help from our Volunteers.

This Week’s Pony News

This week has been busy (and at times wet and windy!), preparing for the winter reduction of ponies in the Ashdown Forest area next week: some 1600m of electric fencing is now almost completed at the National Trust’s Birling Gap near Beachy Head on the stunning East Sussex coast, where 12 ponies will spend three months. Four others are going over to Chailey Common permanently to enlarge the herd there; six new ponies will also be arriving there next week, direct from Exmoor in Somerset.

I find that there’s something very primeval, very satisfying, with watching, listening to several dozen ponies munching through hay on a cold, crisp winters day…

Ponies, Weekend Nov. 9th & 10th

It turned out to be something of a busy weekend, with the ponies at Castle Hill near Brighton getting out two days running! The situation both days was soon rectified by two of us and some deft handling. The culprit turned out to be an insecure gate at the far end of the Reserve.

Busy day yesterday on another pony site, with a 25km Spartan Race – several thousand mad runners participating in an obstacle course with absolutely masses of mud for, the ground there being currently saturated from all the rain of late. Ponies must think us humans are nut!


Nitrogen Pollution

I have placed a PAGE about the unseen elephant in the room nitrogen deposition, which is threatening much of our precious wildlife here in Sussex and elsewhere. I have collated it in order to bring the spotlight of attention to this pressing problem and to try and hopefully explaining it in a little more detail Go back to ‘Nitrogen Deposition.’

Concerns Over Badger Cull

For those who are interested in this subject and want to know more, there is now a third PAGE on this blog-site, one explaining matters in a comprehensive and un-biased manner, another a map of bTB incidence and now thirdly an update of growing concerns over the cull. It includes the latest details as of mid-November. Click on ‘Badgers and TB – The Facts’ or the latest, ‘Concerns Over Badger Cull.

This very real problem for both the farmers and the badger has got to be solved. The current attempt doesn’t look hopeful. Some form of vaccination and, tweaking cattle husbandry I suspect will be the only way out of this debacle.