Monbiot and Lewis speak to Oxford Farming Conference

I have just come across George Monbiot’s presentation to the Oxford Farming Conference in January 2015. Monbiot is well known for his support for rewilding of the countryside and contentious views on reintroduction of some of the megafauna now extinct in Britain.
You may not agree with all his views, but this talk is truly gripping and thought-provoking. What WTT’s Conservation Officers see day-in, day-out are rivers seriously impacted by land use at a catchment scale, where, for example, high density livestock grazes vegetation to the (compacted) ground and/​or poaches river banks, changing the way water gets to and flows along our rivers, bringing soil with it to become gravel-choking silt on the river bed. Farmers can also influence rivers and flooding in a positive way — the example of Pontbren in Wales is given (click here for the case study).
Government statistics support the view that agriculture is a very major impact on our rivers across the British Isles; Defra states that farming contributes “…75% of the sediment getting into our water sources” (Jan 2015). 

See Monbiot’s 26 minute talk here: https://​vimeo​.com/​1​1​6​2​97032

Vaughan Lewis (on behalf of David Jenkins of Coed Cymru) also delivered a very thought provoking presentation on woodland, farming and rivers, giving more detail on the postive impacts of the shelter belts of trees planted at Ponbren in Wales. Click here for copy of the presentation.

For more information on this topic, see the WTT’s Upland Habitat Manual. You can download a PDF on the topic of land use (click here) or purchase the entire manual as a CD for £10.00 here.

See also these library pages on this website: Land Use Impacts on Rivers and Trees and Rivers