Reports, research and designs

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Wildland Reports and Presentations

Work Reports

Designs

Last updated 3 April 2013

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WILDLAND REPORTS and PRESENTATIONS

WILDERNESS AND NATURA 2000, March 2013
Week 6 of the Wilderness Environments course saw Steve lay out the events in Europe since the resolution in the European Parliament in February 2009. My task in the second half of the class was to critique the ability of the Natura 2000 system to protect wilderness. To set it up, I reviewed the timeline of the loss of wilderness since the last glaciation due to human modification, showing how the transformation to used land was much earlier in Europe, central Africa and Asia than elsewhere, and that the rate of global transformation took off from around 1700 when there was also an explosion in the rate of population increase. The wilderness that is left in Europe is primarily Boreal and temperate forest. In exploring how wilderness is protected in Europe now, I contrasted national legislation for protected areas with the EU legislation. Wilderness is not explicit in the Natura 2000 system. However, I pointed to an interpretation of the Natura 2000 system for wilderness based on the strict protection of large carnivores. (1.3Mb)

A REVIEW OF NATURALISTIC GRAZING VERSUS NATURAL PROCESSES, September 2012
This was a presentation at the
Europe’s Wilderness Days meeting in Nauvo-Nagu in Finland on 28 September 2012. It shows how conservation grazing with livestock in England has, since the publication of Frans Vera's theories on forests, become entitled naturalistic grazing that in turn is now associated with rewilding. I show that this is driven by agri-environment subsidy and that unfortunately, areas of the Public Forest Estate have become the playground for Vera-like experiments in wood pasture creation. I show that Vera's theories are totally unsupported in the literature, and a fundamental flaw is the absence of carnivores in influencing herbivore behaviour. The ecological restoration that has occurred on Scar Close since grazing was fenced out, shows how natural processes operate. (3Mb)

MAPPING WILDERNESS IN EUROPE AND BEYOND, September 2012
A shared presentation with Steve Carver, during the symposium on Wilderness at the edge of survival in Europe, given at the 3rd European Congress of Conservation Biology in Glasgow on 1 September 2012. It’s a presentation about the value of mapping wildland. It has wilderness mapping at global and European scale, and wildland mapping in the Scottish national parks. It shows the Wilderness Quality Index (WQI) maps that we developed for Europe, and how the distribution of large carnivores in Europe coincides with the top areas of WQI. My section starts with Mapping frontiers, how the use of mapping identifies trans-boundary networks of corridors for wildlife, and how the co-location of carnivores with other species of conservation interest in the Carpathian Mountains is an opportunity mapping for the establishment of new protected areas. (3Mb)

SPIRIT OF WILD LAND - a timeline in words and pictures, January 2012
A presentation to Leeds University Geography students on Week 4 of their 10-week Wilderness Environments course. The theme for that week was Recreational Use of Wildland. I wanted to get across the immense passion in America during the 19th century for wildland as a publicly owned experience: from Catlin and his call for a “nations park”; Thoreau and his “word for nature”; the “discovery” and photographing of Yosemite Valley; the grant of Yosemite into the protection of the State of California, and the Preliminary Report by Olmstead as one of the first Commissioners appointed to manage the grant of the Yosemite Valley. I contrasted this with the Epping Forest Act, considered to be one of the earliest examples in Britain of an attempt to preserve an open space for public use, but which ultimately was about shackling that space to agriculture. I followed this with the lost opportunities of Dove Dale and Glen Coe (PDF 700kb)

THE PROTECTION OF WILD LAND IN SCOTLAND, September 2011
The John Muir Trust had used the Petition system of the Scottish Parliament to open up discussion on giving greater protection to wildland in Scotland. In support of this, JMT commissioned an options paper to identify arguments for bringing together both biodiversity and landscape in the protection of wild land in Scotland – to show that there is advantage in looking at these two things jointly. This is a departure from the view that wild land in Scotland is primarily about wider landscape and cultural values, historically driven by recreational values, and protected solely by controlling physical development. The options paper identifies a biophysical basis for identifying wildness in Scotland, and the current positive drivers that enhance that wildness. Options are given as to how to protect wildland areas, showing community and social benefits where applicable (1.5Mb)

DOES IT HAVE (FOUR) LEGS?  - The Dutch Experience of Nature Development, March 2011
A presentation to Geography students at Leeds University on Week 9 of their 10-week Wilderness
Environments course. The theme for that week was Re-wilding the Lowlands. The first lecture looked at, amongst other things, the Oostvaardersplassen, a high profile nature reserve in the Netherlands that has large populations of free-ranging herbivores. The reserve is an exemplar of the Dutch approach of nature development, a new paradigm of directed management for nature in a country heavily modified by agriculture. There is often an illogic at its centre, as instanced by the felling of trees in the re-instatement of the shifting sands of National Park Drents-Friese Wold. The large carnivores are absent in Oostvaardersplassen, this predator free state an anomaly in the trophic cascades of wild nature. I contrasted this with the return of the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park, and the consequent transformations of the native vegetation. The large carnivores are returning in continental Europe, and moving ever westward (PDF 2.6Mb)

REVIEW OF STATUS AND CONSERVATION OF WILD LAND IN EUROPE, November 2010
This report was commissioned by the Scottish Government in response to the Resolution on Wilderness passed by the European Parliament in February 2009. It provides the first fully comprehensive review of the status and conservation of wildland in Europe by mapping its extent and location, and identifying the means of protection. The status of wild land in Scotland is then assessed within a European context. A set of case studies is presented that are biophysical and developmental analogues of selected Scottish wildlands found in Europe to draw out comparisons and similarities with continental contexts and systems of management, and a series of key opportunities is given for developing future policy and action on wildland in Scotland (PDF 4.6Mb)

RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES AND NEEDS LINKED TO WILDERNESS AREAS, September 2010
I was invited by PAN Parks to give a talk at their Europe’s Wilderness Days meeting in Borjomi, Georgia. These meetings are their annual get together of PAN Parks members, as well as people from national parks that are prospective members. All PAN Parks have a core wilderness area, and so it was great to be amongst people with a strong enthusiasm for wildland. I was asked to talk about our experiences with the study for the Scottish Government, and the research questions that had emerged from the report. I also explained why the Wildland Research Institute is interested in wilderness. I finished by introducing the research group that had been brought together by PAN Parks to bid for research funding from the EC Seventh Framework Program (PDF 1Mb)

REVIEW OF STATUS AND CONSERVATION OF WILD LAND IN EUROPE for the Scottish Government, May 2010
I gave this presentation at a UNESCO-sponsored conference on Scotland's Wild Landscapes – New Ways Forward at SNH’s Battleby Centre, near Perth. It contained the initial findings of my work on the Scottish Government commissioned review on the status and conservation of wild land in Europe. I made the case for wildland being recognised by countries in Europe through the IUCN system of protected areas, and I described the various ways that the protected area systems were implemented. There was astonishment among some in the audience that the UK has no protected areas in the IUCN categories that protect wildland. The final report is shown above (PDF 1.7Mb)

ZONES AND CONNECTIVITY – lessons from wild area networks from around the world, November 2006
I gave this talk to a meeting of the Leeds Permaculture group. It showed that Mollison, the originator of Permaculture, had tied our survival to the continuing existence of wilderness. It was was an opportunity to show the parallels between the concept of zoning for land use in Permaculture that includes wilderness, with the zoning that is used in wild area networks in Canada, Australia, America, Romania, and in the the No Take Zone around Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel. Land use zoning at a large scale is used to plan resource protection and management in British Columbia, building the links between Protected Areas so that migration is enabled. This connectivity between protected areas is the basis of the continental megalinkages of the Wildlands Network Design of cores and connectivity in North America, and is also seen in the buffers and linkages between protected areas in South Australia. A proposal for cores and corridors across Britain is given in finer scale through examples of green infrastructure in the Soar Valley and in SE Leeds
(PowerPoint presentation 2.4Mb)

SELF-WILLED LAND - an expression of a future-natural state for British landscapes , February 2006 
A presentation to 3rd year Geography students at Leeds University, on Week 3 of their 10-week Wilderness Environments course. From the previous week, it was clear the students were unsure of what wilderness really means. Thus I provided a contrast to the backward conceptual understanding of wilderness in the UK, with the reality of beauty and richness observable in self-willed land just about anywhere in the world. This led into Permaculture and the position wilderness commands in its land ethic, and how its zoning approach to land use is also seen in many protected area systems such as the national parks in Canada, and in wilderness systems in America and Europe. I ended with a look at future-natural as the potential for landscapes in Britain (PowerPoint presentation 1,400kb)

WILDLAND GAZETTEER, October 2005
The rewilding of Britain's landscapes could take many different trajectories, based on the practicalities of examples that exist at present. The Wildland Network had a project to develop a Wildland Gazatteer to provide those examples as inspiration and advice. To introduce the project, I gave a presentation at the second WN meeting, held at Newton Rigg in Cumbria. A key question for compiling the gazatteer is what characterises a rewilding project. A simple definition is land undergoing transition to a future natural state. (PowerPoint presentation 700kb)

WORK REPORTS

RURAL VISIONS - A VIEW OF BRADFORD DISTRICT'S RURAL LANDSCAPE AND ITS PUBLIC GOODS AND SERVICES, October 2004
Working on rural affairs in Policy Development, Bradford Council, I drew together stakeholders to start to map out the ecological services that the rural areas of the District provided, such as water supply, farming, wildlife habitat and countryside recreation. I presented the data at a workshop at the District's second rural conference, using it to support a proposal to re-wood a substantial area of a publicly owned moor as a means of bracken control (PowerPoint presentation 950kb).

RURAL PROOFING BRADFORD VISION, July 2004
An end of project report giving the lessons learnt in approaching the rural proofing of Bradford Vision, the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) of the Bradford District.  This was part of a National Demonstration Project, funded by the Countryside Agency, with Bradford invited to take part as an example of a local authority area with a dominant urban centre, but with outlying rural areas. A key issue, in common with other LSPs covering major urban areas, is the perception of a predominantly urban focus to the LSP that arises because of the significant Neighbourhood Renewal Funding that Bradford Vision receives to tackle multiple deprivation, mostly associated with urban areas. (PDF 79kb)

REGIONAL SUPPORT PROGRAM FOR FARMERS’ MARKETS IN YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER, Aug 2003
An end of project report, detailing the work programme and discussing the issues raised for the future of farmers' markets in the region. A proposal is made for a cross-regional market criteria that would add brand value and would overcome the polarisation of production between the sub-regions. (PDF 427kb)

RURAL ASPIRATIONS: SOME IMPRESSIONS AND OBSERVATIONS FROM BRADFORD DISTRICT’S RURAL LAND USE COMMUNITY, Mar 2002
The Rural White Paper enjoined local authorities to engage with their rural communities and rural proof their policies, strategies and services. Bradford Council commissioned this research work as a means to carry out that engagement. The research was a study of perceptions, listening to Bradford District’s rural land users as they described their business, aired their pressing issues and looked to their future. (PDF 785kb)

SPRINGFIELD COMMUNITY GARDEN - A TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION AND MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE, AND FUTURE USES OF LAND, August 2001
I started tree planting on the 3-hectares of Springfield on a cold, wet and windy day in March 1994. There were just the two of us, a young lad and a yappy dog. Thousands of trees later, three buildings, forest gardens, water and willow features, food growing areas, a wind turbine and composting lavatories are some of the developments of the first publicly funded community horticultural project in Britain to be designed and built using Permaculture Principles. Here is a description and maintenance manual of the landscape elements written for the current and future users of the site. It explains the Permaculture thinking behind much of the landscape development. (PDF 986kb)

TRAINING IN FOOD GROWING, May 2000
The mid-nineties saw an upsurge in community food projects and presaged the linking of food growing and distribution with the health and local sustainability agenda. National organisations were often slow to catch on to this, but eventually mainstream funding drew them in. I had just completed running and reporting on a Train the Trainers project on food growing for the Healthy Bradford Group when I was asked to write a report for HDRA. This organic gardeners organisation had secured funding to run a program on food growing and cooking for the disadvantaged from which they would then produce materials and programs for other trainers to use in running similar programs. HDRA was not a training organisation, nor did it have any knowledge of contemporary approaches to training the disadvantaged. The report was a snapshot review of that information. Unfortunately, HDRA showed little understanding of how important outreach is for such a program. (PDF 52kb)

LOW IMPACT DEVELOPMENT AND PERI-URBAN PRODUCTIVITY IN SE BRADFORD, Jan 2000
Open countryside next to large urban estates has the potential to provide a range of farming and forestry goods to its local population. An area master plan for a new class of smallholdings based on landscape subdivision and low impact development is a key to unleashing that productivity. The planning system presents one of the hurdles to these new smallholdings, and so their concept is tested within existing policies. (PDF 605kb)

You may also like to see the report on LIDS in Wales, which is on the Chapter 7 website
www.thelandisours.org/chapter7

THE PROPERTIES AND REGULATION OF PANTOTHENATE KINASE FROM RAT HEART, Dec 1985
(J. Biol. Chem., Vol. 260, Issue 29, 15745-15751, Dec, 1985)

One gauge of a research scientists worth is their rate of publication in refereed journals. My relatively short career in science was matched by a less than stunning collection of papers. However, here is a link to an abstract of one of them published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry from my days working at the Milton S Hershey Medical Centre, a teaching hospital of the Pennsylvania State University. You can also download the full paper from that link and I commend the journal for making its content freely available on the internet. In fact, abstracts and sometimes the whole paper of all my publications in the different journals are on the web. Here is another one:

PROPERTIES OF RAT HEART ADENSOSINE KINASE, 1984
(Biochem. J. (1984) 221, 521-5280)

This is the only paper I got out of my doctoral work at Oxford University.

DESIGNS

A designer produces concept plans that don't all go on to full design and implementation. Here are some of my designs that were built and, also, some that I really liked, but the clients were less moved.

CO-HOUSING IN THE COLNE VALLEY, February 2007
Two families have made their home in the farmhouse and barn of a farm in the Colne Valley, West Yorkshire. A small dairy farm sometime in the past, these families are not dependent on the farm for an income, but they want the land nearest to their homes to supply them with vegetables, fruit and poultry. The remainder of the farm land will be maintained as conservation meadow, with some wetland and woodland in a new conservation area. They called me in to analyse their needs and the site resources, and present them with a concept plan to guide their development of the site. The analysis covers soft and hard spaces; sun, wind and rain sectors; field access; water capture and management; parking and play areas; wind breaks and growing areas; conservation areas; and shows the overall zoning of the 5 ha site. (PDF 1,258kb)

DESIGNS FOR THE LANDSCAPE AROUND THE ECOLOGY BUILDING SOCIETY HEADQUARTERS, November 2004
This a report to the Ecology Building Society containing the final designs for the landscape around the Society's new HQ. The report is in the form of a Word document (1,487KB) and should be read in conjunction with the Concept Designs.

CONCEPT DESIGNS FOR THE ECOLOGY BUILDING SOCIETY HQ, October 2004
The Ecology Building Society moved to new offices in Silsden in 2004, that were designed and built for low impact and high energy efficiency. The landscape around the HQ took on a less deliberate path, very quickly establishing the typical vegetation cover of disturbed ground and brought-in top soil. The Society contacted the Permaculture Association, to engage a Permaculture Designer who would make some sense out of their landscape. These concept designs are the solutions I came up with. The Concept Designs are in the form of a PowerPoint presentation (1070kb)

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR OPEN HOUSE PLUS, May 2001
Here are some landscape designs for the grounds around a new hostel built by the M25 Group in Doncaster. I made the mistake of over-designing the concept plans in anticipation that the clients would get funding (798kb Word document)

DESIGNS FOR A COMMUNITY MARKET GARDEN, December 2000
After presenting the Concept Design for Sandall Grove Paddock to the Glass Park Trust, I worked with a small design group of Trustees to develop the full design for a community market garden. The design report is in the form of a WORD document (3,159kb) and it is worth reading it in conjunction with the Concept Design presentation below.

CONCEPT DESIGNS FOR SANDALL GROVE PADDOCK, AUGUST 2000

I worked with the community of Kirk Sandall, near Doncaster, on a number of projects including a Planning for Real exercise and forest edge, orchard and tree plantings in and around their Millennium Green. The community were very good at doing land deals on the back of Section 106 planning agreements, and were in the process of obtaining a 1 acre paddock close to their Millennium Green that they wanted to develop as a working horticulture demonstration site. Here are the Concept Designs (PowerPoint 174kb). The full design is described above.

THE MOTTE AND BAILEY GARDEN, May 1995

The Economic Initiatives Division of Bradford Council commissioned me to design two pocket parks to be built in the city to coincide with an Environment Festival. Both parks were to serve office workers during their lunchtime breaks and one was to be a boule track (French bowls) and the other would be an edible garden. Neither of the initial concept designs were accepted, but a revised design for the boule track was eventually agreed and I built it for the festival. The design for the edible garden - the Motte and Bailey Garden - was far more interesting to do than the boule track. (PDF 297kb)

THE ORNAMENTAL KITCHEN GARDEN, Winter 1993

Built as a demonstration garden in Halifax, this was inspired  by the late Geoff Hamilton. It was paired side-by-side with a Forest Garden so that the two styles of garden approach could be compared (PDF 77kb).

THE NATURAL GARDEN, 1989 to today

This is my garden. Hardly a design classic, it has evolved over 15 years into a series of different habitat areas (PDF 151kb)

url:www.self-willed-land.org.uk/rep_res_des.htm

www.self-willed-land.org.uk  mark.fisher@self-willed-land.org.uk

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