‘Think Piece’ on an Ecologically Connected Networks

Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) Ecology Services was commissioned in January 2022 by Natural England to prepare a ‘Think Piece’ on an Ecologically Connected Networks (ECN).

The study has now been published and explores the merits and challenges of developing an ECN of protected sites and areas across England, which will anticipate and respond to changes within the natural system, specifically as these are accelerated by climate change.

The Think Piece focuses on how an ECN could be formed, managed, monitored and assessed, whilst delivering the Lawton Report’s recommended “bigger, better and more connected” network of ecological corridors.

Gabrielle Graham, Managing Director at SWT Ecology Services and author comments:

Climate change is impacting our ecosystems and we need to explore methods to connect our remaining habitats and build resilience within our ecosystems. In this think piece I review a possible approach that could be considered to form ecologically connected networks with protected areas as core areas, connected by corridors with opportunities for habitat restoration and creation, and stepping stones. Critical to this, collaboration across stakeholders is essential and methods of achieving this are discussed.

Included in the paper are examples where the Wildlife Trusts have been moving away from a site-based approach to conservation to a landscape approach, recognising this as being critical for nature’s recovery.

You can read the full Think Piece here

SWT Ecology Services is part of the Wildlife Trust Consultancies network of members across the UK.

Find out more about our services and how we gift aid our profits back to local Wildlife Trusts on our website