Issue 58 – Spring 2016

Politics and the Environment - views of the Parties

Do environmental issues influence the way people vote? From the media interest which the subject has attracted in recent elections, you might conclude that the answer is ‘not much’ or ‘not at all’. Judging by what we know of our readership, many people in Wales feel passionately about environmental issues. But how easy is it to judge and compare the environmental approaches of the main political parties ahead of the Welsh Assembly elections in May?

Natur Cymru wrote to the six main political parties asking for their approaches to the environmental problems facing Wales in the 21st century. In Issue 58 we summarised the responses we received, but here you can read them in full.

In praise of our stone walls

Stone walls are an integral part of the landscape of many of the Welsh uplands. They can tell us a great deal about the history of agriculture in Wales and are important habitat and haven for wildlife. This article by TWM ELIAS, JOHN H. DAVIES and DAVID ROBERTS is based on discussions held in a conference, ‘In praise of our stone walls’ which was held at Plas Tan y Bwlch, Maentwrog in April 2014.

This article is written in Welsh. You can read a translation here.

Travels in lichenology - a journey into the micro-world
Embarking on a new field of study can be difficult but the rewards invariably outweigh the difficulties, as TRACEY LOVERING discovered when she became fascinated by lichens.
Clocks, cultch and spat: native oyster restoration in Wales
As filter feeders, oysters are instrumental in maintaining good water quality by sifting phytoplankton and sediment from the water column, but a combination of over-fishing and pollution has drastically reduced numbers of native oysters around Wales. Water quality and dependant species have suffered as a result. ANDY WOOLMER is at the forefront of a scheme to bring back oysters to Swansea Bay.
The quest for enlightened, wildlife-friendly agriculture - an interview with Colin Tudge
It is clear to most of us that endless economic growth can only be achieved at the expense of an increasingly fragile biosphere. Colin Tudge has been writing about and campaigning for a different approach to the economics and practice of farming for several decades. Here IAN RAPPEL records Colin’s thoughts on conventional farming, biodiversity loss and an alternative, enlightened approach to agriculture.
Skokholm & Skomer 1946: an exceedingly busy year
DAVID SAUNDERS reports on the pioneering work carried out 70 years ago on the islands of Skokholm and Skomer.
Pumlumon: a truly Living Landscape

For over half a century, decline has been the story for upland areas like Pumlumon; decline in biodiversity, rural communities, and the services which the uplands provide for wider society. One Wildlife Trust is deeply involved in efforts to reverse this trend, and establish an economy based on sustainable land management which will benefit people, nature and natural processes, as LIZ LEWIS-REDDY explains.

When to intervene
To paraphrase a famous party political poster – ‘Nature conservation isn’t working’. Despite a higher profile, greater legislation and changes of political power, the environment in Wales is suffering more than ever and species and habitats seem unable to recover from their losses. ROB PARRY asks if we need to cross the boundary of non-intervention and do more to help.
Discoveries in science

Interesting insights from the National Museum Wales

Moulding and casting a fossilised coral

Annette Townsend, Caroline Buttler and Cindy Howells

Buglife

Our regular page from the charity Buglife

Urban Buzz – creating wildlife areas for invertebrates

Michelle Bales

Book reviews

The Essential Guide to Beachcombing and the Strandline in Wales by Steve Trewhella & Julie Hatcher
Rhayader by Nature by Bob Dennison, Steve Jones, Richard Knight, Sorcha Lewis, Phil Ward & Ray Woods
The Island Artist by Ann Lockley & Martin Lockley

Dispatches from the hills

Rewilding the ranges

David Elias

Islands round-up

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

News from the Skerries, and overwintering on the offshore islands of Wales

Geoff Gibbs

Nature at large

BASC programme of mink control to protect water voles

Audrey Watson

Woods and forests

News from Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales

How green is my city? The importance of urban trees

Rory Francis

Life lines

Following the work of Natural Resources Wales

Building a resilience: the principles of Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Russell De’Ath