Scientific aspects of nature conservation in the United Kingdom.

Published online
01 Sep 1990
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Usher, M. B.

Publication language


Conservation in the United Kingdom is divided between government organizations, and non-government organizations. Four areas of achievement are described: (i) methods of site evaluation and the creation of an inventory of the British nature resource in 1977; (ii) creation of wildlife areas in man-made habitats, abandoned farmland, and urban areas; (iii) management of nature reserves, now being codified in technical manuals for the management of particular habitat types; and (iv) problems of invasive, alien species that can reduce or even replace natural communities. Three areas for further research are discussed and posed as the questions 'What does ecological theory have to offer?', 'Is there a minimum size for a nature reserve?' and "What is the role of monitoring?'. It is suggested that practical conservation in the UK will benefit from an integration of (i) the traditional survey approach, (ii) monitoring studies, (iii) an experimental programme and (iv) ecological theory. Modelling can use information from several of these approaches.

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