15 November 2000
Sustainable solutions to floods
By FWi staff
A NATIONWIDE sheep cull and the recreation of water meadows are solutions to recent floods, claims a leading ecologist writing in The Guardian
Chris Baines, vice-president of the Wildlife Trusts and government advisor, says a more sustainable rural landscape needs more upland broadleaved trees.
He says proposals for a national sheep cull in response to BSE fears would provide an ideal opportunity to swap eroded grassland for new woodland.
And lowland farmers should celebrate river flood plains by recreating seasonal water meadows, claims Mr Baines.
These would hold surplus water back in times of flood and during droughts help moderate the flow of rivers and recharge underground acquifers.
They would also provide vital habitats for wildlife which has suffered badly since the widespread drainage of wetlands.
Mr Baines says a move to more sustainable farming would rebuild the self-esteem of farmers and show that their skills can benefit the whole community.
- The Guardian 15/11/2000 Society page 10 and 11