UK Freshwater and Wetland Habitats: opportunities to get involved in their conservation and restoration

August 2021

Wondrous, the natural world delights us with its intimate detail and magnificent displays. Even though true wilderness is largely absent in our crowded islands, experiencing nature can give us great joy. Often, we take for granted the benefits derived from nature and the environment. And, blinded perhaps by the seasonal rhythms, we may be oblivious to relatively gradual, medium-long term changes in the health and status of the habitats we have access to. Until, that is, we notice that trout are much less abundant in our streams, the numbers and varieties of butterflies and birds we see and hear has declined markedly, and we read by chance our forebearsí recording that otters used to frequent a stretch of our nearby stream.

At the time of writing, the UK is in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic for which policy responses include restrictions on social interaction and social distancing rules. These restrictions and any associated economic downturn may well result in substantial collateral damage to the mental health and well-being of many people. Damage though that may have been less for those of us who have been able and fortunate enough to access natural or semi-natural landscapes, alongside streams, lakes and canals in our neighbourhood. However, all things pass and as a society we should look forward optimistically to a post-pandemic future. Here and now, we should recognise the benefits we gain from nature and make efforts to help ensure that the protection and restoration of nature is included when building that future.

This point was very well set out in The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review published February 2021.

View the full Guide