Understanding our responses to environmental change

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25 years on from the hurricane – a shift in conservation management?

Wakehurst Place after the storm

A great piece in the Guardian today (read it here), the 25th year anniversary of our ‘hurricane’ which brought devastation to land and property in southern England, such as Wakehurst Place the Sussex estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, shown here.

The article, by John Vidal, is called ‘Great Storm: a wind of change for conservationists’ and it claims the experience of the storm transformed how conservationists manage landscapes – it implies a significant shift in thinking to manage for change rather than stopping change.

This presents perhaps a good example a crisis providing a window of opportunity, and of a change in emphasis of what we manage landscapes for.  It strongly resonates with the examples and ideas Brian Walker and David Salt bring together in their latest book, Resilience Practice,: Building Capacity to absorb disturbance and maintain function.

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