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Wildlife on the Margins

For centuries, farming and nature enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. Every farmer, by default, a conservationist. The pace of farming allowed nature to adapt and thrive but now, things are very different. Our natural world is under threat from decades of industrialisation and our indifference to the delicate, natural balance that once existed. Intensive farming has played an undeniable part in the demise of our wildlife. Through the 1960s and 1970s wholesale removal and fragmentation of habitats, indiscriminate use of crude pesticides and artificial fertilisers initially set in motion, a collapse of many species. Most of the early chemicals have long since been withdrawn from use. Practices such as aerial application of fertilisers and sprays out-lawed and straw burning banned.

Today’s modern farmer has the benefit of hindsight and realises the enormous challenge of feeding a nation whilst being custodian of the natural world. A healthy ecosystem is the by-product of good farming practice and yet our wildlife continues to decline.

Although farming today is more sophisticated, with applications of chemicals and fertilisers carefully targeted, the sheer scale and speed of operations gives nature little chance to adapt and evolve to this new world. Monoculture creates vast deserts of no-go areas and wildlife is pushed to the margins.

Today, for most modern farmers, the management of the wildlife that inhabits our farms, biodiversity, healthy soils, field margins, hedgerows and clean water are as important as our crops and animals. Profit can no longer be at the expense of nature.

I farm a 600-acre mixed farm between Freeland, Long and Church Hanborough and Eynsham. A monthly summary of my diary will give some insight in to the interaction between the farming operations and the natural world. I hope that you find the reports interesting.

Gallery

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importance of our hedgerows - Photographer Oxford Mailhawthorn at its finest - Photographer Robert Crockerlooking towards Church Hanborough - Photographer Robert Crocker
Eynsham NewsEynsham Image ArchiveEynsham HeritageLocal Covid Response