Landscape Scale Conservation

Following publication of the Natural Environment White Paper, Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) are pilot schemes funded by the Government to bring key partners together to plan and deliver significant improvements for wildlife and people through: sustainable use of natural resources; restoring and creating wildlife habitats; connecting local sites; and, joining up local action on a landscape scale.

These principles are based on those outlined in Professor Sir John Lawton’s landmark report “Making Space for Nature“, which outlined a need for:Components of ecological networks

  • More
  • Bigger
  • Better, and
  • Connected

….wildlife sites, with an equal emphasis on the need to connect people with nature.

We need to manage “core sites”, such as nature reserves, to be the best they can be for wildlife, and use these as building blocks to create more, bigger, better and connected habitats to restore nature across the wider landscape. For example, by sharing land use between nature and farming, and making urban areas more permeable to wildlife.

Lessons Learnt

The Greater Thames Marshes is one of 12 NIAs established with support from Defra to pilot initiatives for delivering conservation at a landscape scale. Since 2012 we have developed a network of best practice sharing and collaboration across NIAs; partners have produced a publication outlining some of the lessons we have learnt in this process nationally and highlighting key next steps to support landscape delivery in the future.

NIAs are just one part of the puzzle, with landscape scale conservation becoming an increasingly established mechanism for delivering improvements for people and wildlife. Schemes such as Living Landscapes, Futurescapes and Landscape Partnerships are all contributing to a wealth of knowledge and experience.