A global study by the National Geographic Society and Wyss Foundation concluded that the world should meet a UN proposal to double the area of protected land and quadruple the area of protected sea. The goal would be to protect 30% of the world’s surface. It would produce £280 billion in annual benefits to the planet. The benefits would include improvements to mental health, reducing pollution and preventing climate change. The costs of protecting 30% of the planet would be outweighed by the benefits by at least 5 to 1.
There is a call for hedgerows to be restored in the UK to pre-war levels. This would help the UK to achieve its target of carbon neutrality by 2050. A report has been released today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England in which they argue that restoring the nation’s hedgerows would improve the capture of greenhouse gases. Government ministers have backed the report and there are calls for millions of pounds to be spent to increase the total length of hedges in the UK by 40% by 2050.
In 1984 there were 423,000 miles of hedges while in 2007 there were 372000 miles. Most of them are in England. Hedgerows are described in the study as “nature’s toolbox”. They can revitalise the nation’s natural environment.
Loss of green spaces in the UK
The UK has lost green space the size of Cornwall since 1990. It has been lost to development according to a study by the UK Centre of Ecology and Hydrology. In Britain as a whole there has een an increase of 3,376 Km² of built-up areas over the 25 year period.
There has been a net reduction of 7,689 km² or 1.9 million acres in grassland and playing fields in the UK. Wooded areas have increased by 5,236 km². Scotland accounted for two thirds of the increase. In 1990 trees covered 10.3% of Britain while in 2015 the coverage was 12.5%. This is one third of the typical EU average of 38%. The Committee on Climate Change said that by 2015 the UK should be wooded to 17-19%.
The above information very much relatse to the human-to-animal relationship. They all affect climate change and climate change is a major factor in what is described as the sixth major extinction of wild species on the planet.