We must make space for nature Chris Packham praises Express crusade for nature haven

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The TV presenter, 60, said the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’s bid to buy Horse Common, a 94-acre plot in the New Forest, could “rectify” the loss of species in the area.

He said: “Environmental NGO’s are doing their very best to stem the haemorrhage of species all over the world but some days I can’t help but feel that they feel like they are fighting a losing battle. But it’s a battle we cannot lose.

“That’s why I am excited that the RSPB, Ecotricity and The Express have teamed up to try and help rectify this at one important site.

“If managed well, Horse Common could be a safe haven for a number of our struggling bird species including lapwings, nightjars and redshank. 

“At this critical time we must make space for nature. We need that nature to survive as a species and right now nature really needs us too. 

“We have to truly embrace the interconnectedness of the world’s ecology and the part we must play in keeping it healthy and functional. “

We have raised half of the £90,000 needed for the RSPB to buy Horse Common.

Chris, who is backing our Green Britain Needs You campaign, helped the cause when he gave Express readers the chance to win an afternoon bird watching with him last year.

He said: “We know that our wildlife faces any number of obstacles in its struggle for survival, be it hunting, damage to migration corridors, lack of food, climate change but one of the most urgent issues is the huge and widespread destruction of those very specific habitats that our native wildlife needs to survive.

“In these difficult times of rising prices and constant worries it would be amazing if you could give whatever you can afford as a donation towards this important cause. 

“Let’s raise the funds to help the RSPB buy Horse Common so the wildlife there can thrive and for future generations to enjoy.”

  • To help raise funds for the RSPB to buy and rewild Horse Common please send cheques made payable to “RSPB” to Daily Express Horse Common appeal, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL or donate via www.rspb.org.uk/horsecommonappeal You can also raise money just by using your mobile phone. 

COMMENT BY CHRIS PACKHAM

You might think we can live with the destruction of one or two species, that it would have an insignificant impact on the richness of life out there in the UK countryside – but each and every organism has evolved to fit very precisely into our ecosystems, each is a necessary cog in natures machine 

This means that wiping out any species, be it plant, invertebrate or animal can be potentially disastrous because you can’t keep destroying bits of that machine and expect it to keep working. And we very definitely need it working.

Europe’s bird population has declined by 600 million in the last 30 years, globally humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970 and more than 40% of insect species on earth are declining and a third are endangered. This is serious.

We know that our wildlife faces any number of obstacles in its struggle for survival, be it hunting, damage to migration corridors, lack of food, climate change …but one of the most urgent issues is the huge and widespread destruction of those very specific habitats that our native wildlife needs to survive.

The Environmental NGOs are doing their very best to stem the haemorrhage of species all over the world but some days I can’t help but feel that they feel like they are fighting a losing battle. But it’s a battle we cannot lose.

That’s why I am excited that the RSPB, Ecotricity and The Express have teamed up to try and help rectify this at one important site. Horse Common is an area of 94 acres in the New Forest and it is up for sale.

You, The Express readers, have already generously raised £45,000 which is fantastic because it means the campaign to buy this potential oasis is already half the way there. Thank you .

Why is it so important? Well, if managed well, Horse Common could be a safe haven for a number of our struggling bird species including lapwings, nightjars and redshank. 

Not only that, as we’ve seen at the RSPB’s nearby Arne reserve a well-managed woodland, heathland and meadow can be home to our imperilled reptiles too.

At this critical time we must make space for nature. We need that nature to survive as a species and right now nature really needs us too.

We have to truly embrace the interconnectedness of the world’s ecology and the part we must play in keeping it healthy and functional. 

And given the lack of political will for this action, it’s up to us to all play our part in its conservation and restoration.

What can we do? Lots! If you are lucky enough to have one leave some space in your garden purely for nature.

Let those nettles and grasses thrive, our butterfly and moth population will thank you for it.

Walls and fences fragment habitats so create highways between your gardens so that small mammals such as hedgehogs can make their way through.

Don’t use pesticides – these chemicals are poisoning the world, please leave them out of your garden.

Feed the birds and put up nest boxes. Use peat-free compost or better still make your own and plant wildflowers to provide nectar, fuel for all those essential insects.

And lastly, in these difficult times of rising prices and constant worries it would be amazing if you could give whatever you can afford as a donation towards this important cause. 

Let’s raise the funds to help the RSPB buy Horse Common so the wildlife there can thrive and for future generations to enjoy.

  • Chris Packham is Naturalist and TV presenter

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