Saving farmland wildlife - is it possible

Lecture Theatre B34, Birkbeck, University of London,
Torrington Square,

Saving farmland wildlife - is it possible?

Field Mouse

Speaker: Mark Avery ex-RSPB, independent consultant.

Friday 8th February at 18:30

Lecture theatre B34, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London.

Mark Avery worked for the RSPB for 25 years until April 2011, and was latterly the Conservation Director.In that role he was involved in lobbying government on issues from GM crops to an airport in north Kent and from the trade in wild birds to the Common Agricultural Policy as well as being involved in buying nature reserves, working with farmers and the reintroduction of species.He now writes books (Fighting for Birds – 25 years in nature conservation, described as a ‘must-read’ by Chris Packham). He has regular columns in British Wildlife, Birdwatch and Wild Travel magazines and does a bit of environmental consultancy (but only for organisations he likes).

UK nature conservation’s greatest successes have been with rare species but some of the biggest issues we face are with the continuing loss of common species.No group illustrates this better than the dramatic decline of birds in the UK countryside although if we had the data we would see that insects and plants had fared even worse.Do we have to put up with the loss of wildlife in our farmed countryside in order to meet the world’s food demands – or is there a better way forward? This is a question for all of us: we pay for the Common Agricultural Policy (in so many ways!).


Free lecture series, Birkbeck, Ecology and Conservation Studies Society and Linnean Society of London.

Wildlife is greatly valued by many of us, but some gives rise to conflicts. Do we all want to see raptors increasing? What about field sports? Can we do anything to stem the inexorable spread of Grey Squirrels at the expense of the native Reds? How best can we halt the spread of TB in cattle, knowing that Badgers carry the disease? Will High Speed Rail cause ecological severance? Most of us would like to see rats controlled, but how far should pest control extend, as far as Feral Pigeons?

This series promises to be popular, so get there early.