• Release of the new biodiversity indicators from Defra



    Everybody talks about the long-term decline in farmland bird populations because this group has been effectively monitored for the longest period. But there is a growing list of other important farmland taxa that are being monitored including plants and butterflies. Defra released the 2012 report on these Biodiversity Indicators yesterday.

    Since 1990, the results indicate a continued shallow decline in farmland birds…

    • 30 May 2012
  • What is the West Country?

    If, like me, you’re not from round ‘ere, then maybe it’s cream teas, ice creams on the beach, the wilds of Dartmoor, or rolling green hills. If you are “south westerly” then you probably have a very different opinion!

     Actually, for me, and RSPB, the West Country is Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. 

     That’s diversity!

    You may already know about the RSPB…

    • 30 May 2012
  • We’ve found Northern Ireland’s Wildlife Ambassadors 2012!

    By Hayley Sherwin, Volunteer and Farmer Alliance Project Officer, Northern Ireland

    With the action of farmers across Northern Ireland, we are working towards safeguarding farmland wildlife for future generations. After visiting farms as part of the judging process for the RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award 2012, we are certain that we have found great wildlife ambassadors for Northern Ireland.

    With hard work…

    • 28 May 2012
  • Save our buzzards

    Defra’s decision to trial the destruction of buzzards nests and removal of wild buzzards from shooting estates leaves me lost for words...almost! The welcome return of the buzzard to much of the British countryside in these enlightened times following decades of persecution has been one of the most visual conservation success stories of our age.

    Defra’s decision has obviously come on the back of strong lobbying…

    • 24 May 2012
  • Let’s hear it for the CAP’s Pillar 2

    By Jenna Hegarty, Senior Agriculture Policy Officer

    Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in well underway and the RSPB is doing all it can to remind our politicians and decision-makers that Pillar 2, which is home to agri-environment schemes, need to be more strongly championed. Agri-environment schemes reward farmers and land managers for managing their land in a way which is good for wildlife and represents…

    • 23 May 2012
  • Call on your MEP to step up for wildlife in the current round of CAP reform

    By Jenna Hegarty, Senior Agriculture Policy Officer

    For the first time ever, the European Parliament (led by the agriculture committee) shares decision-making powers with EU Member States in this round of CAP reform. This means that our MEPs will help shape one of the most powerful drivers of how our farmland is managed. As the next CAP will run to 2020, a year which coincides with the renewed EU targets for halting…

    • 22 May 2012
  • What’s your beef?

    Some wrongly label extensive livestock farming systems as ‘inefficient’. A case study of the livestock farming system on one of our upland reserves highlights that these systems can provide a lot more than first meets the eye.  

    Following a successful day at last year's ‘National Beef Association event’ (read more here), we are attending this years event at the Three counties showground, Malvern…

    • 21 May 2012
  • Has the drought ended at Hope Farm?

    Following 18 months of drought conditions, we have had the wettest April since we bought the farm. This has been welcome news for our crops, which are looking much better for it, and for the environmental features we established last autumn: wild bird seed mixtures to feed our birds this winter and pollen and nectar mixtures which should support high insect numbers over the next 3-4 years. The consistent heavy rain will…

    • 21 May 2012
  • Something to sing about

    I just had to share this - this year more farmers than ever have entered the RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award.  This is fabulous news.  It was already the biggest farm wildlife award in the UK.  But the bigger it gets, the better it will be in spreading the word about the essential role farmers play in safeguarding our countryside wildlife.  So thanks to all of you who have entered - and good luck! 

    Our Farm Advi…

    • 14 May 2012
  • It's Good to Talk


    Weather.  We all love to talk about it, none more so than farmers. 

    Here in the Cambridgeshire Fens we are in the paradoxical position of having just had the second wettest April since records began but being one of the counties still worst hit by drought.  As you can imagine that’s giving us plenty of conversational fodder – not enough rain, too much of it, flooded fields, empty reservoirs...

    Of course,…

    • 12 May 2012
  • Saving the sound of summer


    The soft purring of the turtle dove is an iconic sound of summer – but it has been disappearing from our countryside at an alarming rate.  The population has declined by over 90% and it’s range has shrunk largely to eastern/south-eastern England, making the turtle dove the UK’s most threatened farmland bird.

    The causes of this decline are unknown.  Today we are launching Operation Turtle Dove,…

    • 10 May 2012
  • Latest evidence highlights wider benefits of bird-focussed agri-environment schemes

    We all know that well designed agri-environment schemes can deliver great things for birds, indeed the success stories of some of our most targeted schemes are well documented. However, what we didn’t know, until very recently that is, is what benefit really targeted schemes deliver for non-target species.

    Are agri-environment schemes targeted at some of the UK’s rarest farmland birds – cirl buntings, stone curlews…

    • 9 May 2012
  • Reforming the Common Agricultural Policy: Greening or greenwash?

    What would you say is the policy that has the greatest impact on wildlife in the UK? The Habitats Directive? The Wildlife and Countryside Act maybe? Or perhaps the Convention on Biological Diversity?

    From my viewpoint, albeit a biased one, it is none of these. If I were to choose one, it would have to be the Common Agricultural Policy. Worth over £3 billion per year across the UK, Im sure many of you are…

    • 4 May 2012