• Judging the future of farming policy against what nature needs

    Today, I am taking part in a conference hosted by the Zoological Society of London to debate how much space is needed for nature.

    The motivation is to reflect on progress made in meeting existing global targets for managing land and sea for nature (17% on land and 10% at sea by 2020: Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity) and to begin to scope what ambition is needed to guide conservation efforts…

    • 28 Feb 2018
  • Future farming policy – Defra open their consultation on the future

    Today, Defra published their consultation paper on future farming and land management policy. Given the importance of farming to wildlife, this policy area will be pivotal in shaping the future prospects for nature in England, as well as for farming itself.

    I’ll come back to reflect in more detail later in the week, but for now, these are our first impressions…

    …the principle of ‘public money for public…

    • 27 Feb 2018
  • Next steps towards the Greater Gola Landscape

    While staying in the Kongba region in north-west Liberia to see our Golama project (which I described in my previous blog), we could walk into the forest to watch fabulous West African birds including the endemic Gola Malimbe (pictured).


    But, while enjoying the huge variety of life that the rainforests offer it is impossible to ignore the connections to home when you see swifts flying above the canopy while sitting…

    • 18 Feb 2018
  • The impact of Gola Forest in Liberia (Part 1): a focus on forest communities

    In 2009, a vision was conceived to create a transboundary peace park covering Gola forest across the Sierra Leone-Liberia border: protecting nearly 250,000 hectares of one of the most important biodiversity hotspots on the planet.

    For this vision to be realised, both countries needed to designate areas of their best forest as national parks.  Sierra Leone reached this milestone in 2011 with the designation of the Gola…

    • 16 Feb 2018
  • The impact of Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone (part 2): a focus on threatened species

    My pre-dawn walk through Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone was rewarded with a perfect view of the elusive White-necked Picathartes sitting on its nest.    I say ‘elusive’ as this was how Sir David Attenborough branded the bird for his famous 1952 Zoo Quest programme.  Today, the Gola Rainforest National Park team know all the Picathartes colonies so for us it was simply a case of getting to the right place at the…

    • 15 Feb 2018
  • The impact of Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone (part 1): a focus on chocolate

    “When Gola came here, I didn’t want it because the forest was my livelihood.  Now, I want Gola to stay because it taught us cocoa farming.” [quote][/quote]

    During my brief stay in Sierra Leone, I was overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome we received from the local communities living in and around Gola Rainforest.  It is clear that the work we are doing with our…

    • 15 Feb 2018
  • When is a step forward, actually a step back?

    Guest blog from my colleague, Chris Corrigan, the RSPB’s England Director.

    Headlines are important. They’re the first things we see and in many cases are often the only thing we read. But of course, they aren’t the whole story. Achieving positive change takes a lot more than a catchy headline, it requires real commitment to turn a positive headline into reality.

    Take Defra’s 25 year plan. It contains…

    • 14 Feb 2018
  • 2018: The year of women

    One hundred years ago today, women first won the right to vote in the UK. Today, we will be celebrating this milestone, as my colleague, Alison Enticknap, looks back at the RSPB’s own female pioneers and their relationship with the suffrage movement.

    The Representation of the People Act of 1918 enabled women to vote for the first time. It wasn’t all women at first, but it was a start. The more militant “suffragettes…

    • 6 Feb 2018
  • For the love of... Gola Rainforest

    This Valentine’s Day, as part of the Climate Coalition, the RSPB shall once again be calling for action to tackle climate change to protect the people and places we love.

    To support their #showthelove campaign I’ll be wearing a green heart on my sleeve as I head off this week to see the work that we are doing to protect a place lived in and loved by many: Gola Rainforest.

    I have previously written about…

    • 5 Feb 2018
  • Good news for World Wetlands Day: more progress for Yellow Sea conservation

    To mark World Wetlands Day, I have asked my colleague Nicola Crockford (who leads our policy work on migratory species) to share this great news for Spoon-billed Sandpipers and wetlands in East Asia...


    Extraordinarily good progress has been made in ensuring the conservation of the Yellow Sea, and therefore the future of the Spoon-billed Sandpipers and the many other species of threatened waterbirds…

    • 2 Feb 2018