Clinton Devon Estates has contributed to a major new national report commissioned by the Wildlife Trusts, which focuses on the rapid drop in insect numbers in the UK. The document, ‘Reversing the Decline of Insects’, was commissioned as part of the Trust’s Action for Insects campaign. The Estate was invited to take part to discuss the positive work it’s undertaking to help halt and reverse the crisis.
In the report, Head of Wildlife and Conservation Dr Sam Bridgwater, discusses some of the steps currently being taken. He explains how the Estate has introduced Key Performance Indicators at its organic farm in East Devon, which include the voluntary planting of pollinator margins and plots, across rotational areas. Alongside this, strips of clover-grass leys are being rotationally left unharvested to allow for flowering. The Estate is also investing in a PhD, part of which is looking at the costs and benefits of different management regimes for pollinators
Dr Sam Bridgwater explains: “East Devon is so beautiful it is easy to become complacent. The evidence suggests that all is not well beneath the surface: the catchment’s water quality is poor; 20% of the trees are ash and in decline and farmland birds are struggling. And what about insects? The question we have posed is ‘under our current trajectory, will we leave the Estate in a better or more denuded form?’
“We don’t claim to have the answers to insect declines and we can’t yet claim that what we are currently doing is sufficient. But the Estate’s intent to play its part is genuine. The journey starts with accepting that there is a problem, taking responsibility, and taking steps to correct the situation. Supporting citizen science projects such as the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s ‘Beewalk’ is helping us to improve our understanding of both species’ diversity and abundance on our land. The data collected will inform our management.”