Humans evolved for many millennia as hunter-gatherers. In a much shorter time span since the last ice-age we started to cultivate many wild plants and animal live-stocks. This innovation let human populations grow and develop large settlements with specialised technologies. All these increased our pressure on the world’s natural resources, such that fertile land is dominated by a few domesticated species that produce food and other materials for expanding towns and cities.
Yet European rural culture still depends heavily on the rich variety of nature. In countries with enough rain, a majority of rural households cultivate gardens. Overall in Europe, about a third of rural adults gather natural flowers, fruits, fungi and fuel; about a third as many fish, and there are roughly three anglers for every recreational hunter. In some countries, a high proportion of rural folk watches and feeds wildlife.
Overlaps between these large interest groups means that many who manage land in gardens, farms and forests also hunt, fish and gather. All these interests tend to suffer as Europe’s natural riches are lost. Gardens have fewer pollinators. People travel further to watch wildlife or gather wild foods. Numbers of hunters and anglers decline. Income opportunities from all these diminish for local farmers and foresters.
Naturalliance now has three new topics and a revised topic at the top of the list on the left. Most importantly of all, Naturalliance now provides a system to help local government administrations and clubs to work better together and with their residents for the environment, health, education and other concerns, as easily as possible and at minimal cost. Please spread the word about the new System for Community Liaison. Two other completely new topics, on ‘Restoring Nature’ and on ‘Managing Alien Species’, are also at the top if the list. Finally, there is new guidance from the Council of Europe on Best Practice for gathering fungi, so the topic ‘Gathering Fruits, Fungi and Other Natural Products’ has also moved up the topic list.
Naturalliance seeks to reverse the current downward spiral by enlightening, enthusing and enabling local people to maintain and restore nature’s variety across Europe. We aim to help all who manage land and species to enhance the riches of nature, in ways that improve rural recreation and employment, through:
- "Learning by doing" to build interest in wild resources and increase their availability.
- encouraging local people and organisations to be ambassadors for health and wealth from nature.
- enhancing revenue for spending locally by reducing need to travel to enjoy wild flora and fauna.
- increasing gains from natural riches above the costs of the management needed to secure them.
- enabling local people to share the knowledge that makes the guidance system better and better.
Would you like to:
- manage with guidance and incentive rather than inflexible regulation?
- teach your children and grandchildren to enjoy a countryside richer in nature?
- gather evidence to show that counterproductive governance should be abandoned?
- work together with other interest groups and government rather than despite them?
- build countryside in which both jobs and the riches of nature benefit from diverse land-use?
- have blanket restrictions replaced by guidance and incentives that are sensitive to local conditions?