Managing Unnatural Histories

Lecture Theatre B33, Birkbeck, University of London,
Torrington Square,
United Kingdom

Managing Unnatural Histories

Speaker: Dr David Bullock, Head of Nature Conservation, National Trust

Friday 28th February, 18.30 - 20.00

Lecture theatre B33, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London

Dr David Bullock is Head of Nature Conservation in the National Trust in England, Wales and Northern Ireland where, he advises on sustainable management of wildlife and natural resources over 255,000 ha of land, 700km of coastline, in 400 gardens and 250,000 built structures. In a previous incarnation as an academic he researched the ecology and management of problem animals such as feral goats, and the impacts of other non-native invasive species on native biota. His work today often involves advice on control or eradication of invasives, some of which has been controversial. He is passionate about increasing people's connections with nature, without which some habitats and species will decline. He recognises that the conventional routes for public understanding of how nature works (such as through evidence based scientific enquiry) does not work for many people, for whom other portals such as the arts and myths may be more helpful. Of late he has been particularly active in advising on management of wildlife in unnatural habitats such as buildings. The 1907 Act requires the National Trust to manage for plant and animal life, and the landscapes in which the buildings sit.

David offers three mini-talks. Those attending the lecture will be asked to vote to choose which three of the following topics they want to hear:

Eradicating non native mammals from seabirds islands

Asian ants and Italian snails

The northern blue fin tuna in Tatton Hall, Cheshire

Really wild nature that was - is it back again?

Bats need old buildings; old buildings need repair

Hunky punks, gargoyles, grotesques and other gothic wildlife

Keeping meadows flower-rich

This event is free and open to all, registration is not required.

Management of wildlife habitat

Free lecture Series, Birkbeck, Ecology and Conservation Studies Society, supported by the Linnean Society of London

In a crowded island how do we make space for a diverse wildlife? Until recently, the management of wildlife habitat was by mimicking traditional economic management, in an attempt to preserve rich remnants of the past and deter alien invaders. Dissenting voices, however, argue that we can create large blocks of wilderness, where natural processes allow native species to manage themselves with minimal intervention by us. Another view is that tradition is too focussed on birds, bees and wild flowers, ignoring most other biodiversity. Yet others find value in mixtures of both native and established exotic species and argue that it's difficult and unnecessary to strive purely for natives. This series asks whether our traditional management prescriptions needs an update?