Lifelines Project: Char Valley
The Lifelines Project has been developed by a group of Char Valley residents: Owen and Suki Day, Ines Cavill and Jyoti Fernandes, with website, mapping and GIS support from John Blanchard. It is an independent community project.
Char Valley Parish Council voted to endorse the Lifelines Project at its meeting on 20th July 2020.
In a nutshell, the Lifelines Project for the Char Valley starts with the insects - seeking to stop the decline in numbers locally and trying to encourage regenerative ways of managing that land so that insect populations - and the birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians that feed on them - can revive and flourish once again.
It identifies gardens, allotments, smallholdings, fields, farms, woodland, ponds and streams where no chemical pesticides are used, and records these (along with their old field/place names) on an interactive map. As residents report more land that they are managing without pesticides, their fields or gardens turn gold on the map of the valley, so everyone can see how the project is going. As the map turns gold, so the Char Valley starts to be restored to vibrant health.
As the idea catches on and spreads, it can a) expand into neighbouring areas and b) become more complex - mapping areas that are managed organically or sustainably, areas where tress are being replanted, etc.
B-lines - a plan for wildflower corridors around the UK
The use of pesticides in the UK must be at least halved... (A report and recommendations by the UK's Wildlife Trusts) SB-B-lines Summary - B-Lines Full Report
WildEast: a plan to rewild an area the size of Dorset
WildEast Summary - WildEast website
1 Project Outline
1.1 The Problem - Alongside the climate emergency there is an ecological emergency. This has many aspects but one of the most visible and talked about, especially in a rural area like the Char Valley, is the very sharp decline in insect numbers and similar declines in creatures that depend in them. Insect populations have plummeted by as much as 80% in two decades, with knock-on effects for the birds (e.g. swallows and skylarks), mammals (e.g. bats), reptiles (e.g. grass snakes) and amphibians (e.g. frogs) that depend on them for food … and for the plants whose flowers they pollinate.
This insect crisis is part of a broader decline in overall wildlife diversity and abundance and is, of course, happening in the context of a worldwide climate emergency.
For the Char Valley, the Lifeline Project will focus on restoring and regenerating the insect population as part of a community-based and community-led effort.
1.2 The Objective - The aim is in two parts:
1.3 The Method - Use good publicity and networking (including at the 21st March CVPC Climate Event and in the local press) to raise awareness of the Lifelines Project, asking people to the Project about any land they own in the Char Valley on which they do not use chemical pesticides.
Using GIS (geographic information systems) and a range of digital mapping overlays, the Project will create a detailed, publicly accessible online map of the area with the pesticide-free areas highlighted in gold on it.
This will be used to engage the interest of residents, find out other plots that are already pesticide-free and start to build momentum for more gardeners, smallholders, farmers and other landowners to decide to stop using chemical pesticides in certain fields and plots.
Over time the Lifelines Project hopes to engage more and more residents and local businesses.
>>> Continue to read in more detail: 2 - Project Detail