Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Why Do We have Nature Reserves?

I thought the Chance Wood volunteers need a bit of a treat this month so I arrived an hour or so early, photographed the area we were going to work on and started to cut back the rhododendron.  I soon produced a pile big enough to start to cut into the small straight pieces that are essential to get a fire going; my aim was to present them with a small fire that they could soon enjoy enlarging to get rid of the rest of the rhododendron we were going to clear. Despite realising I’d forgotten the kindling, I soon had a small blaze going ready to hand over to Carl, our ex-scout and fireman.

After a couple of hours clearing, burning and cake-eating we settled down to watch the fire burn down.  We got to talking about the reserve and how long some of us had been using it.  One volunteer mentioned how, many years ago, they had often come to sit in the reserve and clear their head of problems and worries, they explained that they always felt there was a quiet spot to sit unnoticed and that they somehow felt safer in the reserve than elsewhere.  I was reminded of how surprised I was when an apparently very self-assured acquaintance confided in me that he always came to the wood to sit surrounded by ‘nature’ while he sorted out his problems.  I know of at least two other people who have told me that the wood helped them through difficult times and a couple who wanted their ashes scattered in the wood because it was so special to them.

The Wildlife Trust takes on the ownership of pieces of land and calls them nature reserves for a variety of reasons: most often to try to provide a haven for a particularly threatened species or assemblage of different species, ultimately with the hope that they may eventually return to the wider countryside. There are no rare or threatened species in Chance Wood; it does, however, provide a haven where people can regenerate and draw a little strength from the natural world, hopefully to go out and champion the natural world in their everyday lives.

...oh, and we cleared all that rhododendron too!

Roger, Chance Wood


  1. A nice article Roger. Nature is a great therapy for me for sure

  2. Thanks for this Birderwolf, its great to know that there is somebody out there reading the blog and who has noticed the comment button!

  3. I agree that Nature Reserves are an important part of the countryside. They offer respite from swathes of agricultutral land for many species of plant and animal. and assist in the economy by creating jobs. Green and Environment Jobs were heralded as the way forward to help save the earth and to combat climate change, enhance conservation efforts and halt species decline. But just how far have we come in the past 10 years.

    "There are several studies of the jobs market and the scope for creating a successful career in this field, but is environmental protection a vocation that I would encourage any undergraduate to follow?" (writes Andrew)

    "Until 2008 there was a tremendous growth pretty much all niches of environmentalism. The trend followed a similar pattern to the tech boom, and the current situation is also the same...the 'bubble burst."

    "Although there has seen a marginal growth in the years post 2008, growth remains subdued. Previously bouyant areas such as 'organics' 'ecology' and 'climate change' have continued to tread water."

    "The organic market is predominantly a consumer driven market, and affected by price, customer spend, inflation and employment. In the minority are the organic diehards that will continue to by organic produce irrespective of price and quantity - in favour of a 'lifestyle decision'. The organic market has nose dived since 2008, but it is my opinion that this will become 'part and parcel' of the Fairtrade consumerism and will once again grow. (Fairtrade has not been affected by the global recession but has in fact grown)."

    "Ecology is affected by private sector business and to a lesser extent by public sector pay. Without developments there is little demand for the services of ecology consultancy services. Less demand creates a stagnant job market. There will however, always be a seasonal demand for ecologists."

    "Climate Change (CC) is affected by both public and private sector spend. But unlike other specialisms, it has been seen to be at the mercy of climate sceptics and conflicting reports about the integrity of climate data. CC is undoubtedly affecting the globe and is integral to many jobs. However, private sector developments, R&D and the resulting increase in the jobs market has not materialised as would have been expected. Says Andrew wrting for StopDodo online at"

    "...Onto renewables. Renewables are the holy grail. However, it is my opnion that the future for renewables is fusion energy. Fusion energy requires little physical space and creates energy thousands of times higher (per input) than any other form of energy creation (nuclear aside). However, there is little R&D into this potentially planet saving energy resource. It is my belief that solar, wind and wave technology are too unreliable, labour intensive, invasive, costly and ineffective."