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Call to build a Nature Partnership in the New Forest and beyond

Call to build a Nature Partnership in the New Forest and beyond


The New Forest National Park Authority and Forest partners are calling for people to work together to drive nature recovery in the New Forest and wider area.

The Re:New Nature Challenge looks at the opportunities and resources needed to put nature front and centre in the New Forest National Park, which is a globally-important site for nature and should be thought of as an ark for wildlife.

In the New Forest, 56% of the National Park is a Special Area of Conservation, Special Protected in Area or Ramsar Site and further 5% is classified as non-statutory sites important for nature conservation – the highest proportion of land in any local authority area in the country.

The Re:New Nature part of the New Forest’s Partnership Plan focuses on nature recovery in the face of the climate emergency and recreational and environmental pressures, and highlights the urgent need for action to ensure the National Park’s habitats are more resilient, better managed for wildlife, bigger and more joined up.

Habitats need to be restored to enable wildlife to move through the landscape if it is to adapt to changing conditions, including going beyond the National Park boundary to the wider countryside.

Alison Barnes, CEO of the New Forest National Park Authority said: ‘There’s a huge amount of great work already being done to Re:New Nature in the New Forest, including improving wetlands and freshwater habitats, restoring heathlands and delivering grants and advice to farmers and landowners.

‘The idea of the Re:New Nature Challenge is to ask people to redouble their efforts to work together to achieve this in a more collaborative and co-ordinated way, aligning resources, harnessing each other’s work and, crucially, to attract funding into both the public and private sector to secure the New Forest for future generations.’

The New Forest National Park Authority has been working with key nature conservation organisations: RSPB, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Natural England and Friends of the New Forest, as part of an informal ‘Wildlife Roundtable’ with an independent chair, Mike Clarke, former CEO (now Vice President) of the RSPB and Life Member of Friends of the New Forest.

The group has identified actions needed to encourage a programme of nature recovery in the New Forest and beyond. The Re:New Nature Challenge document sets out a spatial approach, viewing the New Forest as five connected areas, each with its own landscape character.

At a special reception at the New Forest National Park Authority stand at the New Forest Show on Tuesday (25 July), Forest organisations called for wider partnership working, inviting landowners, land managers, communities and investors to develop projects and ideas, and secure resources together.

Andrew Parry Norton, chair of the Commoners Defence Association said: ‘We all share a love of the New Forest. We want the Forest to thrive, we want nature to thrive, and we want commoning to thrive. Once we’ve got that right, then everything around us will fall into place.

Mike Clarke said: ‘The New Forest is one of the most rich and important places for Nature in the UK, and we take it for granted.

‘The National Park can be seen as an ark for nature in southern England and has a massive role in being able to enrich a large part of the region. It has around 20,000 animal and plant species – around a third of all those in the UK – in just 300 square kilometres.

‘The natural landscape has survived since the last Ice Age, thanks to the traditional commoning system and the enduring partnership between humans and animals. It can still survive but we have to work together to make an impact collectively.’

A Re:New Nature Partnership will be established later in the year, taking forward and broadening the shared commitments in the Re:New Forest Partnership.


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