Charlie Burrell, owner of the Knepp Castle Estate, talks about realising the ambitious vision of transforming an intensively farmed environment into a biologically rich landscape supporting large free roaming animals.
In recent years there has been a huge decline in the number of native species of flora and fauna. Bird and insect numbers have plummeted, especially on farmland habitat. There in increasing concern about the drop in insect pollinators, and the wider implications for the farming industry.
The Knepp Rewilding project is a pioneering experiment, whose aim is to return sterile farmland heavily reliant of artificial fertilisation, to a state of natural productivity. It uses large herbivores to drive habitat change – cows, deer, ponies and pigs all roam freely, with minimal human intervention.
“Anybody who thinks that there can be limitless growth in a limited environment, is either mad or an economist”.
(Sir David Attenborough 6.xi.12)”
As our wild habitats shrink, is the damage we cause to our land irreversible, or is there a way back? A cause for optimism in an increasingly gloomy age.