BBC Wildlife: Nature by numbers

February 16, 2021

RSK Biocensus’s rewilding business has once again caught the attention of the press as new environmental legislation is set to mandate the delivery of a 10% biodiversity net gain for many developments.

BBC Wildlife Magazine journalist James Fair spoke to RSK Wilding Director, Jon Davies, about whether “turning nature into a number” and applying biodiversity net gain metrics could “turn the tide of the wildlife losses that have caused the UK to become one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world”. The article considers whether landscape-scale rewilding could prove a better alternative to on-site mitigation. Jon believes that this will certainly the case in many cases, or at least a combination of the two. New RSK Biocensus business, RSK Wilding, will help clients to not only meet the requirements for biodiversity net gain (BNG) through rewilding, but also to offset their carbon emissions. By doing so, the business aims to help reverse decades of environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and the impacts of climate change by sensitively rewilding land in collaboration with landowners, local communities and non-governmental organisations. The degree of rewilding will be determined by the size and type of site, Jon continues.

One of the key advantages for biodiversity net gain is that developers will be encouraged to build on unwanted land with “little wildlife value”, the article continues. “Wildlife-rich areas” are more likely to be left undisturbed because they will be more expensive to compensate for through biodiversity net gain.

One danger that the article warns against, is “how metrics can be used to distort the truth and twist reality to the benefit of the developer”. It cites Gavray Meadows in Oxfordshire, UK, as an example. The wildlife-rich area was granted planning permission for housing in 2016. This was soon overturned in court when the biodiversity metric used was found to be distorted.

Jon, however, is confident that the new legislation will have a positive effect, and “believes the combined levers of net gain and rewilding allow us to plan wildlife restoration in a more strategic manner”. He is looking at working in locations highlighted by Natural England as priority areas for restoration, thus potentially bringing greater connectivity to the UK landscape. The article goes on to note that “Recreating wetlands – with the help of beavers – could help to store water upstream of areas that are liable to flood, and sequester carbon, contributing to UK emissions reduction plans”. These other natural capital benefits, in addition to biodiversity restoration, are another reason why rewilding is becoming so popular.

Subscribers can read the article in full in BBC Wildlife’s February 2021 issue (pp.28-31).

👏 Grace Kassimoto is the only acoustic specialist from and working in East Africa.

💚 In our latest #ADayInTheLife, she discusses how she is leading the way for women in a traditionally male-dominated industry and what she enjoys most about her role.

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📢 We are proud to sponsor the #GreenEnergyAwards 2022, an event organized by Scottish Renewables

🏆 This ceremony aims to recognise the inspirational organisations, people and projects going above and beyond to make a real difference to the health, wealth, and wellbeing of Scotland

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📅 1st December 2022
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🐟 Concern was recently raised in France with regards to the health of marine ecosystems.

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📢 November is a month dedicated to men’s health.

🌍 On November 19th, we celebrated #InternationalMensDay, a global holiday that highlights the positive value men bring to the world.

🤝 This year, men around RSK are taking part in #Movember, an initiative that involves growing a moustache during November to raise awareness of men’s health issues.

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😮 “The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Building with Nature can help clients understand how they can utilise best-practice green infrastructure solutions to deliver developments that are better for both people and nature.”

👏 In the November edition of our #employeespotlight, we spoke with Joanne Mayneord, Senior Landscape Architect at @stephensonhalliday, who has recently been certified by Building with Nature as an Approved Assessor.

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