Issue 48 – Autumn 2013

Re-wilding Wales: Pandora’s Box, or future perfect?

A new book has stimulated debate about the way we manage our uplands. Will this leave a lasting impression, or is will it be quickly forgotten? LIZZIE WILBERFORCE considers some limitations behind a superficially attractive vision, and ANDY JONES joins the debate.

Optimism rewarded: Cwm Idwal 15 years on

The Welsh uplands have come in for criticism lately for the intensity of their land management and lack of natural dynamism. In contrast to this gloomy view, one upland National Nature Reserve has been on a journey towards greater diversity and attractiveness, as BARBARA JONES and DAVID PARKER report. It should give policy-makers and land managers the confidence that in certain locations, transformation is possible and desirable.

Bringing back the beaver

Returning a large native animal like the beaver to the Welsh countryside is a long way from the self-gratification of ‘re-wilding’ advocacy. It requires the building of bridges, addressing the concerns of those who might be affected; considering practicalities, identifying benefits, drawing up contingency plans – painstaking work. Since the last article on beavers appeared in Natur Cymru (22:8), much progress has been made, as ADRIAN LLOYD JONES reports.

One farm’s flora: a Carmarthenshire smallholding in the 1970s-80s

Few of us who grow up surrounded by fields and hedges get to know the names of most of the flowering plants we encounter. An inspiring teacher can change that. NEIL LUDLOW’S list of the plants on his farm conjures up the colourful diversity of one small unimproved farm, a richness he hopes to rediscover in the future.

Fungi ha-ha and fungi peculiar

PAT O’REILLY finds fungi fascinatingly unfathomable.

A mysterious moth: the Welsh Clearwing

In the Summer of 2012, RHIANNON BEVAN and DAN FORMAN carried out an ecological study of the larval host plant of the Welsh Clearwing, aiming to get a better understanding of its habitat requirements. Here they describe what is known about this fascinating insect, what they have found out, and what remains to be discovered: your observations could help safeguard its future in Wales.

The Big Wheel – restoring the Tan y Bwlch turbine and the environmental considerations

Hydro-electric schemes are not new in Eryri. Here TWM ELIAS looks as some of the history of these schemes and reports specifically on the turbine that has just had its official opening on land at Plas Tan y Bwlch this year – the third such scheme there. He also describes the ecological considerations that were critical for the success of the project.

Bee Cause - action plan for pollinators

The plight of bees and other pollinating insects has touched the public imagination, and is of very practical concern because of its economic implications. Friends of the Earth Cymru have been campaigning for action to address the issue, and their ideas and suggestions have been taken up in a Welsh Government Action Plan, as BLEDDYN LAKE reports.

Book reviews

Meadows by George Peterken
What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? by Tony Juniper
Feral by George Monbiot

Fifty Years Ago

Moths and mothing – 50 generations on – the importance of long term monitoring.

John Harold

Plants at large

Hedgerow harvest

Simon Goodenough

Discoveries in science

Interesting insights from the National Museum Wales

New lichens from Welsh rivers

Alan Orange

Marine Matters

Gloom or hope? An update on the prospects for marine nature conservation

Blaise Bullimore

Islands round-up

Our regular look at the islands off the Welsh coast. This time:

Farewell to Mary Gillham and Robin Pratt; Birds and cetaceans; Bardsey Bird & Field Observatory 60th birthday

Geoff Gibbs

Life lines

Following the work of Natural Resources Wales

Giving Nature a hand: Natura 2000 species and habitats

Kathryn Hewitt

Woods and forests

News from Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales

Isn’t it funny how bees like trees?

Rory Francis