It’s all about punctuation…

15 May 2017
BY:
Ian Boyd

One of Artecology’s founding ideas is called ‘Punctuated Intervention’, based on an important principle in landscape conservation that we can summarise as the ‘not everything is everywhere’ rule! What this means is that wildlife isn’t evenly distributed in the world around us. The density of biological activity is almost always patchy; through a wood, or in a pond, or across a field, in a park or in a garden. A butterfly will spend lots of time making very short journeys around a particularly good feeding or egg-laying spot and then skip the intervening space as it flies 100m to the next. A bat might travel 10km to feed at its favourite pond but bypass many small woods and meadows on the way. A population of ground beetles might flourish in the scuffed bare ground at one end of a school playing field but be completely absent from the other.  The usefulness of the habitats around us varies, and consequently landscapes are necessarily composed of patches of differing ecological value. Some will provide just one of many options for wildlife and are easily replaced if damaged or disturbed (for example a general getting from A to B), others may be a vital and singular resource (for example the only pond in the neighbourhood). Looking at places in this way helps us to concentrate our efforts on the best and most sustainable results. If we can manage small, and sometimes very small, patches of environment to provide high density wildlife activity then we can help to build up ecosystem resilience by increasing the number of ‘hotspots’ available to species and their local populations. If we space these enriched patches to suit the dispersal abilities of particular target species, or an assemblage of invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and songbirds, then, in the jargon of the moment, we can deliver ‘net gain’. This is Punctuated Intervention. The great thing about PI is that organizations can deliver real improvements for wildlife even within the limited funding now available for environmental work, and set these within an existing maintenance regime without complicating contracts and annoying contractors! Even better, it is possible to begin to apply those very maintenance routines to landscape punctuation, stretching existing budgets for better results.

Actually, there’s a little more to it, and that’s the Artecology take on Rewilding, but more on this next time……

Visit Artecology for more…