The Relationship between Wildlife and Agriculture
Farming and wildlife have gone hand in hand for hundreds of thousands of years. Farmers have learnt the importance of understanding the landscape and the wildlife within it to get the best of the land agriculturally. Nowadays, the government give money to farmers to encourage their continued support of wildlife and try to steer away from the over use of pesticides, rotate the use of fields for livestock to allow wild flowers to grow and plant trees in hedges to promote their use as wildlife corridors.
Conservation management is all about understanding the importance of wildlife of the landscape, recognising the need for wildlife preservation and choosing the right measures so as to manage the habitat in the most effective way, to benefit both farmers and wildlife.
Benefits of Preserving Wildlife
Preserving wildlife and their habitats can benefit the farmland and in turn economically benefit the farmer. Wildflowers on the edges of fields can boost crop pollination and provide a form of pest control. Hedgerows, trees and multi-species swards can be a benefit to farm animals as they provide shelter, forms of enrichment and sources of food with a far richer mineral and vitamin content.
Compensation via taxpayer funded schemes can assist farmers with managing the land in a wildlife positive way. These ‘green payments’ can provide an alternative income to farmers, of whom often have difficulty with being able to make a good profit, especially when considering the lowering of supermarket prices for the consumer.
Managing wildlife habitats can be focused on the existing wildlife or less productive areas rather than recreating new ones. These can be in the form of field edges, and corners as well as hedges and trees.
Farmers that have taken part in preserving the wildlife on their land have found that there is no significant loss of yield per acre. In fact, when only 8% is taken from a field dedicated to the use of wildlife and removed from production there is little effect on profit.
The idea of wildlife positive farming can offer new marketing opportunities for farmers, and show the diversification of todays farming practices, in turn attracting the consumer to farming products.
How Acer Ecology Can Help
If you are a farmer reading this then we can help you! Whether you own a commercial or organic farm, hoping to develop an agriculture site or wanting to just better understand what species are living on your land then Acer Ecology can assist you! Acer Ecology has over 40 years of professional experience in the environmental sector, always striving to achieve pragmatic and cost- effective solutions for all of our clients. We always try to ensure the needs of the relevant schemes and wildlife are accounted for. We offer specialist advice on agri-environment schemes including ELS/HLS and all tiers of countryside stewardship.
Services We Provide:
• Preliminary ecological appraisals (Extended Phase 1 habitat surveys);
• Acting as Suitably Qualified Ecologists (SQE) in Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM Ecology Assessments;
• Protected species surveys (plants, bats, badgers, great crested newt, otter, water vole, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, white-clawed crayfish etc.);
• Farmland bird surveys;
• Bat surveys of agricultural buildings;
• Barn owl surveys of buildings/ trees;
• European protected species licence applications;
• Specialist vegetation surveys;
• Tree surveys (BS5837);