There was a useful article in the Guardian on January 28th, describing the loss of the UK’s meadows, the consequent damage to biodiversity, and what conservationists are trying to do about it:
Radio 4’s book of the week this week is “English Pastoral” by James Rebanks, which tells the story of a hill farm in the Lake District, how farming has changed over the past few generations, and how the current farmer there (the author) is trying to balance the need for food security with good stewardship of the land. If you’d like to hear it but have missed it, thanks to the miracle of “BBC Sounds” you still can:
It’s a frequently quoted statistic than 98% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have disappeared since 1945. Unlike many frequently quoted statistics, this one is accurate and evidence-based. But to understand why this has happened, it’s necessary to also understand the changes in agriculture that have been driven by population growth, government policy, technology, and consumer demand. There was an excellent series on BBC4 called “Mud, Sweat and Tractors” which used home movies from various farms to explain how things changed from the mid 1940’s to the 21st century for dairy farming, fruit and veg production, wheat production, and beef farming. It shows how farmers were responding to what the government policies of the time were directing them to do. Unfortunately, this series is not currently available on BBC i-player:
But it is available on dvd if you search for it…..