There was once a time when doves were messengers of peace, protected by myth, taboos and religious sensitivities, protected from the harms of human hand entirely. Throughout history, they’ve been immortalized in literary works like Shakespeare, The Old Testament, Edmund Spenser and many more. Yet currently, they're declining at a rate that these peaceful symbols of love may be lost to future generations.

According to the RSPB, turtle doves specifically, are the most likely bird to go extinct in the UK by 2020. Since 1995, we’ve lost 94% of the turtle doves in Britain… however, in Sussex, an almost magical regeneration of local population has come from one couple’s choice to rewild their estate in a bid to bring teams of life back again. 
regenerative agriculture, soil health, uk soil health, kiss the ground, rewilding, permaculture, rewind your neighbourhood, rewind yourself, turtledove, rspb, Knepp castle, Isabella Tree, wilding, traditional ecological knowledge, ethical writer, ethical influencer, holly rose

The decline in turtle doves in England is the result of a number of factors, but the biggest issue causing their rapid fall in population has to do with the transformation and toxification of Britain’s countryside. Since the 1930s, 98% of native wildflowers and grasses have been given up to farmland, causing erosion as their deep roots were ripped from the soil, leaving the land nothing to hold on to as the typical rains which grace the UK reigned downward. That naked land was then drenched in fertilizer and weed killers, contributing to the loss of habitat and food for a multitude of species as we spread our monoculture fields from sea to summit. 

Some of the plants made near-extinct by conventional farming - like fumitory and scarlet pimpernel - offer tiny, energy-rich seeds, which birds like turtle doves feed on giving them enough nourishment to migrate south to sub-Saharan Africa and back again. 

 REWILDING'S ENCHANTING REGENERATION ⋗

Through the rewilding of the Knepp Castle —an estate made up of 3,500 acres of former arable farmland in West Sussex—native species of flora and fauna have returned to their ancestral lands increasing the biodiversity of the area with the most enchanting results. 

In turtle doves alone, over the past 8 years, they have seen an increase from only 3 pairs to 16 - that's a 433% increase! While that might seem like a small number, the rapid rise of population on such a small piece of land indicates how quickly and effectively wildlife on the brink of extinction can be regenerated. All we have to do is learn how to take care of the living planet in a way that is best for soil, by really and truly letting the wisdom of the natural world take over. 

Rewilding is a movement of hope, magic and inspiration. The fairy-tales drenched in conservation, which us adults, now sinking under the bombardment of the doom and gloom scenarios, need to hear and have the power to support.
regenerative agriculture, soil health, uk soil health, kiss the ground, rewilding, permaculture, rewind your neighbourhood, rewind yourself, turtledove, rspb, Knepp castle, Isabella Tree, wilding, traditional ecological knowledge, ethical writer, ethical influencer, holly rose


THE ECONOMICS OF LANDSCAPE TRANSFORMATION 

Just to give you some perspective, the UK is made up of 60 million acres, of that land, 42 million acres is "agricultural" land, 12 million acres are made up of mountains, bog, moors (some of the most biodiverse areas of the UK ),  and 6 million acres of ‘urban plot’ (houses, shops, businesses).

If we were to rewild just half of the agricultural land currently being used for monocrop and factory farming, the transformation in terms of wildlife regeneration would be astounding. Possibly enough to cause the UK to become carbon neutral, according to a study being released by Harvard in April. 


Regenerative agriculture could provide $1.9 trillion in financial returns by 2050 with an investment of $57 / £43 billion (just for perspective, the US spent $639 billion on military in 2017 / £48.billion was spent in the UK). The money to transform our landscapes is there, it's just being used on oil subsidies and military instead. 
regenerative agriculture, soil health, uk soil health, kiss the ground, rewilding, permaculture, rewind your neighbourhood, rewind yourself, turtledove, rspb, Knepp castle, Isabella Tree, wilding, traditional ecological knowledge, ethical writer, ethical influencer, holly rose

⋖ HOW TO REWILD YOUR OWN LAND OR COMMUNITY  

1. Read Isabella Tree’s book 'Wilding' (where this tale and the majority of the facts stated come from). 

2. Donate to your local rewilding projects, this will allow them to buy back land and invest/rewild it to create the diverse ecosystems our planet needs. Some examples of organizations you could help are:

3. Rewild your own backyard or unused land in your community. Discard all pesticides, weed killers, slug pellets and fertilisers. Plant native hedges, insect-friendly flowers, and green any concrete you might have. Create a pond if you have room, you don’t need much space to do so and the results are enchanting if you do. Create shelters for critters, insects and birds. 

4. Vote for politicians who value nature above all else and encourage your local representatives in office now to rewild local areas which are unused. According to the Guardian, “many local authorities are discovering that allowing roadside verges, roundabouts, hedgerows or parkland to become wilder can save money. Burnley borough council estimates it saves £58,000 per year by reducing grass-cutting to benefit wildlife”.

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regenerative agriculture, soil health, uk soil health, kiss the ground, rewilding, permaculture, rewind your neighbourhood, rewind yourself, turtledove, rspb, Knepp castle, Isabella Tree, wilding, traditional ecological knowledge, ethical writer, ethical influencer, holly rose

PHOTOS: Annie Spratt via Unsplash
SOURCES: Guardian, Isabella Tree’s book Wilding, Drawdown, Independent, NCBI, Knepp Castle, RSPB, UNEP