Have we lost touch with Nature? 69% of Brits say yes

New research shows a staggering seven in 10 (69%) Brits feel they are losing touch with Nature.

A further 13% admit they haven’t been to the countryside for more than two years. Even more concerning for future generations is that a third (33%) of parents don’t feel they know enough about British wildlife to pass on to their children.

13% never seen a hedgehog

The study, commissioned by Jordans for the Jordans Farm Partnership, also reveals that some of the most familiar species of British wildlife are not recognisable to some Brits. 17% of respondents say they have never seen a toad and 13% have never laid eyes on a hedgehog.

When it comes to trees, one in three Brits would not easily be able to identify an English oak and 75% couldn’t identify a hawthorn tree – yet trees like the oak and hawthorn provide essential habitats for birds, insects and bats.

When quizzed on wildlife, 33% of those questioned could not identify a barn owl, while 66% couldn’t recognise a turtle dove. Both these farmland birds are in decline, with turtle doves being one of the UK’s fastest declining species: populations have fallen by 96% since 1970.

Promoting sustainable farming

The Jordans Farm Partnership, which brings together The Wildlife Trusts, LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), The Prince’s Countryside Fund and 40 progressive British farms that grow cereals for Jordans, has been created to help stem this decline and support endangered species by restoring and recreating habitats.

The provision of rough grassland gives barn owls space to hunt and, by allowing some hedges to thicken and become taller, turtle doves are encouraged to nest.

On Jordans Farm Partnership farms, hawthorn trees are able to grow in hedgerows to provide not only shelter for wildlife but also blossom, which is a valuable source of nectar for bees and other pollinators during the spring. Oak trees on the farms are home to thousands of insects that provide food for numerous species of bird and bat.

The overall goal of the partnership is to promote sustainable farming through a commitment to giving over 10% of land on Jordans farms to British wildlife.

‘We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife and wild places in their daily lives and this research by Jordans provides an interesting insight into how connected people feel towards the natural world. We are proud to be working with a company like Jordans Cereals who through their British farming supply chain are making a positive difference to the natural world and helping The Wildlife Trusts achieve its vision of restoring Nature.’

Director of marketing and development at The Wildlife Trusts

Experiencing wildlife

Research from the 2016 State of Nature report showed that more than half of British farmland species are in long-term decline. This has a major impact on how Nature fares within the UK as around 75% of land is used for farming.

The risk of this decline continuing is real unless action is taken to ensure wildlife is protected and people have the opportunity to experience it, whether in Britain’s countryside or in gardens, towns and cities.

Within the Jordans Farm Partnership, each of the scheme’s 40 farmers develops a bespoke farm plan with a Wildlife Trust farm adviser. This includes a list of wildlife present on the farm and species that should be encouraged because they are rare or important for conservation in their county.

To date, 15 farm plans have been set up and 23 conservation focus species have been identified. Jordans Cereals farmers are currently providing habitats and wildlife protection across 450km of British hedgerows, 80km of watercourses and 1,000 hectares of habitat for pollinators like bees. These figures are expected to double once all the farm plans are in place.

Click here for more information on The Wildlife Trusts.