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  • Matthew & Kata

Winter Gathering Reflections - Biodiversity

Strengthening biodiversity on our farms:

This is something the EU (New Green Deal) is encouraging all farmers to do through some environmental support subsidies, but these have not really kicked in convincingly in Hungary. So far initiatives really depend on a few dedicated, individual (often organic or regenerative) farmers deciding to put energy and effort into making space for wildlife within a productive farm. This szakszeció was both depressing and highly-inspiring, and generated hope. Depressing, because we heard of the frighteningly rapid loss of wildlife and particularly loss of insect and invertebrate species (The two well-monitored groups of the world's animals are mammals and birds. Currently, every fourth (24%) mammal and every eighth bird (12%) is facing a high risk of extinction (IUCN figures) and whilst insect populations are less well monitored, it is known that tens of thousands of insect species are threatened - possibly far more, but many insect species haven't even been identified, so knowledge of losses can only be rough estimates). But despite the shocking nature of biodiversity loss it was really inspiring to see how much expert knowledge was in the room at the Jászfényszarú gathering. Knowledge not only of what we are losing, but also of what we can do to reverse these trends. The hopeful message is that we can make a difference and change can be rapid when serious energy and resources are applied. Creating wetland habitats, forest verges and margins and generally allowing space for nature to expand are within reach - but only when the public demand and support these.

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