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Meet the National Park’s Net Zero with Nature Programme Manager 

Meet the National Park’s Net Zero with Nature Programme Manager 


John Stride, the New Forest National Park Authority’s new Net Zero with Nature Programme Manager, standing in the Forest.

John Stride is the New Forest National Park Authority’s new Net Zero with Nature Programme Manager. With transformational change needed to address our climate and nature emergencies, John will develop and lead our ‘Net Zero with Nature’ programme with partners across the New Forest National Park.

What is the Net Zero with Nature Programme and why does the National Park have one?

The climate emergency is a big and global challenge. It often feels too big and complex to tackle at a local level. We all know the impact that this is having on the natural world, but nature is also part of the solution. I am working with partners to make nature improvements. This will provide the best chance to make rare habitats resilient to climate change and absorb more greenhouse gases. All while retaining the unique landscape character and cultural heritage of the New Forest National Park.

How unique is the New Forest?

There is nowhere on earth like the New Forest. The scale of biodiversity here is staggering! One of my favourite things to do is go out and look at the colonies of marsh clubmoss. The New Forest population is one of the most important in the world because it is so rare elsewhere. These are part of a group of plants that have hardly changed over the past 400 million years. When you stand anywhere in the New Forest National Park, you can feel the past beneath your feet. This helps us think about the future and care for what we have, so future generations can enjoy it too.

How will you carry out your work?

I will work with partners including community groups, landowners, and agencies, in fact, anyone who wants to get involved. Together, we will identify opportunities and take action to help the New Forest be more resilient to climate change.

Can you give some examples of how this work will help the Forest?

Our work involves thinking about a whole range of species and habitats and what we can do to support as many as possible. The ongoing programme of restoring incredibly rare and valuable open habitats is enhancing the resilience of these special sites by making them bigger and better connected. The New Forest is a world capital for wildlife and by joining up more habitats, such as grazed pastures, we are creating more of the type of space that species need to thrive. Not only are these areas intrinsic to the character of the Forest with their ancient oak and beech trees they are also incredibly valuable for the rare insects, fungi, and lichens they support.

Alongside this, we know that the landscape can do more to absorb greenhouse gas emissions. Restoring the wetlands and the peatlands of the valley mires in the New Forest is a huge opportunity. More ponds have been created, hedgerows have been restored, and even more nature-friendly farming practices have been implemented to support soil health. We can do so much to help the New Forest through the coming decades. This will give it the best chance to be net zero with nature.

When will we notice this work for the New Forest National Park Authority?

This work is a key part of the Re:New Forest Partnership Plan 2023-2027 so you will see and hear about this work from now and over the coming years.

What areas can we all make an impact?

There is so much we can do in our own daily lives to have an impact. In terms of nature, leave an area of your garden a little wilder than usual. Also, dig a small pond or plant a native tree on your property. You can even volunteer to do nature recording or conservation work. There are many opportunities across the New Forest. Please do get involved!

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