The case for rewilding upland areas
George Monbiot publishes his new book Feral this week. In his latest article he makes the case for rewilding the most unproductive agricultural areas in Britain, and makes the case against the Single Farm Payment scheme. This subsidy to landwoners relies not on food output, but on keeping agricultural land clear of encroachment by 'undesirable' vegetation - in other words, scrub and trees which provide the very protection and habitate needed to enable wildlife to survive. The recent State of Nature report reveals, implicity, how wildlife-poor these upland areas of Britain have become. Lack of cover, including scrub, gorse and trees, is directly due to grazing practices and delibrate removal of such vegetation by farmers in order to retain their Single Farm Payment. Certain other schemes then pay farmers to put back some of these features, but only in very small pockets of land.
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