Charity plans to plant dozens of new orchards across England

The National Trust charity has a bold plan to build dozens of new orchards to support wildlife across England that is blossoming into an example of how nations around the globe can provide sustainability to the environment and their own communities.

The plan, first announced in 2017, involves the National Trust turning up to 50 percent of farmland they own into sustainable farms that support humans and wildlife by creating or restoring habitats in an effort to reverse declining wildlife numbers.

“Our charity was founded to protect our natural heritage and we believe we should be playing an active role in reviving it – by doing what we can on our own land,” Director of Land, Landscape and Nature Peter Nixon said. “Nature has been squeezed out to the margins for far too long. We want to help bring it back to the heart of our countryside.”

“Despite the battering it’s taken over many decades, nature has an incredible ability to rejuvenate and revive if given the conditions to thrive,” he continued. “Birds such as the cuckoo, lapwing and curlew are part of the fabric of our rural heritage. But they’ve virtually disappeared from the countryside. We want to see them return to the fields, woods and meadows again, along with other wildlife which was once common and is now rare.”

That means most farms on National Trust land will practice sustainable farming that supports wildlife.

It also means creating 68 new orchards across England and Wales to support wildlife, like bees and birds, to larger animals, as well as humans.

“We launched a new wildlife and nature strategy, which included an ambition to create 25,000ha [62,000 acres] of priority habitat by 2025,” said David Bullock, the head of species and habitat conservation at the charity. “We identified traditional orchards as being of particular importance because they provide the perfect home for a variety of birds, pollinators and insects.”

“Every tree is precious because it can become a home for birds such as the lesser spotted woodpecker, bats and mistletoe moth<‘ he said. “The amazing number of apple and other traditional fruit varieties that we can plant reflects the wonderful diversity of life.”

The world could certainly use more trees right now, considering deforestation is worse than ever before.

The orchards also provide food for human communities.

“Orchards are also vital for people,” Bullock said. “They provide us with delicious local and seasonal food and drink, they are places for people to enjoy and gather, have great cultural significance, and are places of beauty.”

In short, the National Trust is working harder than ever to create sustainable farms and orchards that support both wildlife and humans so that we can co-exist without pushing any species to the brink of extinction. New habitats will give wildlife places to live and thrive while sustainable farms and orchards will provide food for them and ourselves. It’s also a blueprint for any nation to do the same kind of work to help their own wildlife conservation efforts, which are desperately needs as the world teeters on the brink of no return from the ravages of climate change.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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