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DESTRUCTIoN OF HABITAT BY TIDYING UP:

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AGILIS
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Joined: 27 Feb 2007
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Posted: 07 Feb 2008
hi  how to kill of wintering grass snakes hedge hogs alike done by a conservation group tidy up brigade who should have known better these piles of
 foilage was at least 3foot high and the were there for some months  just the time to collect animals for hibernation KEITH
AGILIS39485.492962963
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
Robert V
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Posted: 12 Feb 2008

Keith,

hi, I sometimes think these guys are brain dead. It's disappointing when there is now so much information available as to what to leave in place and what to "clear up".

rob


RobV
Wolfgang Wuster
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Posted: 12 Feb 2008
Agilis,

Have you discussed this with the Reserve Management/Wildlife Trust? If these guys don't think for themselves, then a little help might nudge them in the right direction.... but then again, so long as the orchids and birds are there, chances are nobody will give a f about less visible animals....

Cheers,

WW
Wolfgang Wüster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor
http://sbsweb.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/
armata
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 14 Feb 2008
Same, same old story..ah well.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
Suzi
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Joined: 06 Apr 2005
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Posted: 15 Feb 2008

Don't be so sure that the management is helping the birds and flowers. An example I can think of on a Devon heath where in late spring, in a certain small area, a type of small fritillary butterfly could be seen. I never saw it anywhere else and yet there were always several every year. There was also a flower that was locally rare. Swipe and scrape to bare earth as a management strategy a few years ago and neither seen since.

Birds do not benefit from the addition of extra paths, carving up the portions of heath into smaller areas that are more disturbed by walkers and their dogs.

Insects such as glow worms, where the females can't fly, can be wiped out when  they are not identified before these harsh clearances are carried out.

I think there ought to be more identifying of species present and the effect on them all of any management techniques. To not look at the whole picture but just one or two species is foolish


Suz
GemmaJF
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Posted: 16 Feb 2008

I've been quiet of late Suzi, but your post prompts a response.

When I speak to people who carry out this sort of management they say they are 'taking a holistic approach' and that to identify the needs of individual species is 'single species management'.

The blind leading the blind I'm afraid in 50 years people may regard the final destruction of heathland diversity as being down to todays managers and conservationists.

We all see it as madness so why does it happen? Money, these groups all scrap around for every grant and handout they can get, when they get one they have to do something with it, out come the diggers to 'restore' the heathland, talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water.

I've yet to see a single project that actually had a longterm benefit for reptiles, the destruction of underlying soil structure and cover habitat usually just provides a barren wasteland. They then manage using grazing or even mowing at some sites to encourage the heather the biodiversity is practally wiped out in a season. They should give it up up and become monoculture farmers for a living, it is practically what they are doing in any case.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
AGILIS
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Posted: 16 Feb 2008
Yes we had a great disused railway track running through our town that supported nats liz / sloworms a very healthy  dense population alas no more they decided to bitumen the track up incase a wheelchair needed access dont think they ever bothered about using it until the council posted news of the work in  the local papers about the access. After that they sprayed all the edges with some sort of agent orange defoiliant used in clearing forests in Vietnam in the 1960s cut out every bramble bush and anything that looked like natural foliage then sprinkled a load of wood chippings every where and dedicated it as a country nature walk their still chopping down perfecty good willow trees down today mind you its now a magnet for binge drinkers and  walkers with their  dogs fouling the edges of whats left of a once pleasant track were  even I ride  my mountain bike down it at full bore incase I am mugged by some disabled dog owning  druggo. , Keith AGILIS39494.5155671296
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
Robert V
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Posted: 16 Feb 2008

Lol Keith.

I think Gemma's right. I saw an article in the paper the other day saying that there are large tracts of land being bought up privately in Brazil, Peru, Mongolia and wherever (except the UK) by ecologists wanting to preserve it for biodiversity. Lets hope they're not going to be looked after by the same "concerned managers" that we have over here as before long the only wild animal left out there will be the occasional, dustbin searching, rat eating feral cat..... And reptiles? You can just hear the kids of tomorrow saying, 'reptiles, Sir, didn't they exist in dinosaur times?'

cheers

Rob


RobV
Suzi
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Posted: 16 Feb 2008

Forgot to say in my adder posting today that it ws heartening to see that they have not been idle over winter on the heath I visit . Plenty of nice large areas scraped bare  .

To go back to Gemma's post I think the money might have now dried up here so hopefully I am seeing the end of this sort of destruction. Or is it too much to hope?

Across the road from my main wandering patch there is more heath that is managed with a very light touch, is less carved up into small pieces and it is much better for snakes. Seems pretty good for birds too. It is also much more frequented by dog walkers as it is by the car park. The other managed-to-death heath they have to cross their dogs over a busyish main road and most don't risk it.

 


Suz
herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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Posted: 17 Feb 2008

 

Ah the great Essex Wildlife Trust - does it again

Just to let you know that Natural England Wildlife Advisors have visited the reserve we aint allowed to talk about (The Scottish Reserve Gemma) - they visited a few weeks back to inspect the site to see if the EWT are complying with the Conservation License issued to the EWT.......

We await the conclusions......

 

J


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
AGILIS
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008
I think the problem is also with the public as to their idea of  what a nature reserve is, most people think  it is a  place in the country  to stop the car and  have a picnic with allotted park benches and mown grass for ball games, and see a squirrel  and some think its a place to get your kit off. keith
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
GemmaJF
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008

The truth Keith lol, I think you are exactly right though some of those cleared areas make great runways for model planes when the dog walkers keep out of the way (would most people walk in front of a landing plane weighing in at several pounds like they do?).

It would be interesting to compare species counts on the average roadside verge with our so called 'nature reserves' which are nothing of the sort. I know regarding densities of reptiles we have recorded down the years that the so called trustees of our wildlife would have plenty to be embarrassed about. You want to see a nature reserve, look out the window of the car next time your going down the A12, M20 or M26. You want the odd squirrel and the even odder people, go to a nature reserve.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Peter
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008

Oh dear.  Those are certainly some very depressing pictures in Keith`s first post. 

 I remember making similar discoveries on the heaths in southern England as a lad and feeling very confused about the whole thing.  Now as an adult living elsewhere in the country I work for a conservation trust with volunteers.

I have a deep seated interest in our native wildlife, particluarly our herpetology.  This passion developed as a very small child and although far from an expert, it certainly served to cultivate an "awareness" if you like of what not to do and even more importantly, when not to do it.  This is what I think can often be missing in the case of people who think chiefly about the needs of birds for example to the exclusion of other lesser known wildlife or unfortunately on occasion primarily about access for human visitors above other matters.  The type of stuff that Keith describes as having been removed is the very type of thing that myself and my helpers are often in the process of creating, ie habitat piles (though not I might add, at the expense of existing habitat!).

[QUOTE=Wolfgang Wuster]

Have you discussed this with the Reserve Management/Wildlife Trust? If these guys don't think for themselves, then a little help might nudge them in the right direction....

[/QUOTE]

Definately the best course of action in this matter in my opinion.  Perhaps keith, you could offer yourself as a Volunteer (in a supervisory context perhaps)  or maybe arrange a meeting with the project leader?

[QUOTE=GemmaJF]

We all see it as madness so why does it happen? Money, these groups all scrap around for every grant and handout they can get, when they get one they have to do something with it, out come the diggers to 'restore' the heathland, talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water.[/QUOTE]

It certainly is true that money could often be spent in a manner resulting with far greater benefit to wildlife than is often the case.  Again, I think that as a group of people with a genuine interest and a pooled knowledge of herpetology we should perhaps be slightly more aggressive in  our contribution and link in as much as possible with the various trusts that are involved with such volunteer workdays.  One of the first organisations that I myself got in touch with at the first indication that I would possibly be working on practical conservation projects with volunteers was the HCT.  This was so that any relevant courses could be arranged to educate thevolunteer leaders.

[QUOTE=GemmaJF]

I've yet to see a single project that actually had a longterm benefit for reptiles, the destruction of underlying soil structure and cover habitat usually just provides a barren wasteland. [/QUOTE]

It`s a very great shame to hear so.  I am doing my utmost to make sure that it is not the case as far as any projects in my area are concerned.

Peter39496.2546759259



Peter
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008
Sorry about all the bold print!    Not sure what happened there.



armata
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008
This discussion just goes around in circles - you all know my own experiences - its half the reason I am here in SA

Wonder what suprises will confront me in April when I visit?
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
Peter
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Joined: 17 Jan 2008
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008

[QUOTE=armata]This discussion just goes around in circles - you all know my own experiences - its half the reason I am here in SA

Wonder what suprises will confront me in April when I visit?[/QUOTE]

It`s alright for some!

I am sure you will be confronted with a fair few surprises, most of them probably negative.   Such experiences should not stop us from taking positive action however and doing our best to educate well intentioned volunteers wherever possible. They won`t neccessarily come to us!  We must go the them.  It would be wrong to just give up.

* EDIT;  I have just read the thread relating to the "experience" that armata refers to in his above post.  The unbelievable catastrophy that was the Hartlands heath management incident.  After 30 years dedicated and detailed time served on the ground study, to have much of it destroyed so needlessly, (KNOWN hibernation sites at that) well let`s just say I can fully understand armata`s choice to up and leave.  At the same time it also makes me want to strive even more so to try and prevent such seemingly inexplicably bizarre "management" practices from being put into place.

Peter39496.5901041667



AGILIS
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008
Come on Tony I am sure you come  across probs in SA just like anywhere else what with the white farmers exterminating any wild life that is competing with live stock and I would think reptiles come way down the list of the present SA govs priorities except as a food substitute for the poorer locals , as I know from experience in Australia were a nice croc or goana ( monitor liz is a sought after delicacy among the indigenous abos even today keith AGILIS39496.5519328704
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
armata
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008
In fact Keith you are a tad bit wrong. Sure there are farmers who kill snakes on sight and truck drivers that squish tortoises for the hell of it..but its not all like that.
We get phone calls daily from farmers to come and remove snakes - sometimes we travel 50-10km to catch one cobra, puff adder, or house snake herald snake etc.
But it is also an education process, word of mouth, the 'boer' network works fast. Lately, I have had a couple of boomslang calls to farms, When the farmer realises that they offer no threat if they are left alone, they agree to leave the snake there. We return snakeless but satisfied.
The word is also spreading through the polics, fire dept and defence force.

Also, the permit system is strict, you cannot just pick up a snake, and I mean any snake, without the necessary paperwork from CapeNature.

Also, and I have PMd Peter about this.

On my study site at DeHoop I get brilliant cooperation from management and staff. As in UK after 3yrs I know a few puff adders, cape cobras, and southern adders individually. The sites are marked on a map in the reserve managers office and all are aware of what I am doing. Recently, the management insisted that I was on the ground during a controlled management burn, so I could identify sites. These were then worked around.
A message Slepe could do well to heed.

So yes Keith, we have problems here, but there is much that is positive and encouraging.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
frogworlduk
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Joined: 19 Aug 2003
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008
yeah it's true whats you say about looking out the window on the motorway. on one site i work on with brilliant heathland and great habitat. smooth snakes are only found on the motorway embankment which is next to it!! great choice. mind you they aren't annoyed by people and dogs.
herpetologic2
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Posted: 18 Feb 2008

Thats not the M3 is it lol.....

Basically you can only do your best, if the power that be ignore you which they often do then complain - who to you ask

well I have complained and Natural England have undertaken a license compliance visit on an EWT site - I cant wait (with baited breath) the result of this.......

prosecution perhaps?

 

J


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife

- DESTRUCTIoN OF HABITAT BY TIDYING UP

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