Nature reserves 'not enough' to protect UK wildlife

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CREATING nature reserves is not a sufficient strategy to protect the UK's wildlife, according to one of the country top conservation organisations.

Protecting wildlife under pressure in fragmented "islands" of habitat is not enough totackle the decline in species and rise in climate change, warned the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Instead of just creating more and bigger reserves "isolated and tucked away behind fences", space needs to be made for nature throughout the wider countryside, according to Aidan Lonergan, manager of the RSPB's "futurescapes" programme.

Mr Lonergan said that in 2010 – the International Year of Biodiversity – the world had failed to meet targets to halt wildlife losses and nature was now facing the increasing threat of climate change.

He said temperatures were rising at a rate for which the world had no comparison and which could force bird species north by hundreds of miles – the equivalent of moving from Wicklow, south of Dublin, to Aberdeen.

He said the UK was a "crowded island" and there was a need to find ways to manage land to protect wildlife alongside delivering benefits such as food production, space for recreation, water management and carbon storage.

"We're looking for opportunities in the wider landscape to work with partners to provide green space. Green space is good for the economy, good for people and good for nature."