The Tyrrany of the Ecology Graduates

The British countryside is often admired for its diverse aspect.  Patchwork fields, heathland and downland, small copses and large stands of woodland all form part of its rich variety.  And one of the joys of living in this country is that it has always been reasonably easy to access and enjoy this natural tapestry.

However, in the past few years, the bodies that help maintain our landscape have become infested with a deadly creeping disease.  This goes but the name of “The Ecology Graduate”.  This bug thinks that three years drinking in the uni bar and a few shoddy essays marked by a tutor under pressure to get his pass rates up, gives them an insight into land management practices that were denied to generations of woodsmen, farmers and gamekeepers (the people who were actually responsible for creating the rich tapestry of the british countryside in the first place).  The EG’s therefore dream up schemes to exclude the public from the countryside so they can play in their own personal play-pens, often with unfortunate consequences.

Take an area near me.  Many years ago it was common grazing land, people were able to graze their livestock, collect wood for fuel and so on.  In the twentieth century as people gave up owning their own livestock in deference to the freezer section at Tesco, the common became overgrown as the Birch coppices were allowed to grow unhindered.  One day an EG thought “Whey don’t we cut down all the trees and make it an open heathland?”.  This they duly did, to the dismay of people living nearby who now had to look out across a desert.  The soil, exposed to the elements began to erode, and the bracken released into the light took hold.  “Hmm” though the EG “My textbook doesn’t say anything about Bracken on the Heathland”, so they tried mowing it (tractor wheels are not kind to the soil).  The next year the bracken was taller than ever.  So the EG’s fenced the common off and sprayed it with herbicide.  Very ecological, that.

What they should have done, was wander along to the local pub, and have a chat to the old boy in the corner.  He could have advised them not to clear the whole area at once, but to fell a small section each year.  Maybe coppice it, used the felled material to produce charcoal (hey you EG’s – those funny circular pits you found were the remains of the old charcoal burners’ clamps), sell the charcoal to fund the upkeep of the rest of the common.  But no, they knew better, throw money at it, and keep the people who pay your wages away.

Now I wish that this were an isolated incident, but it is being repeated across the country as bodies like DEFRA, Natural England (recently expensively re-branded from English Nature), The Corportaion of the City of London and The National Trust decide that our contryside is too precious to actually allow people to use it.  One day soon, you will need a swipe card and police background checks before you can go for a walk in the fields.

Keep Out

Keep Out

~ by @mmonyte on July 17, 2008.

3 Responses to “The Tyrrany of the Ecology Graduates”

  1. Does it not make it more fun jumping the fence? Hmm I say get pellet gun and shoot the EG’s in the butt then write the gov a stinking letter saying that others are getting really upset and you fear for the EG’s lives…

    Fab photos btw *bows*

  2. […] Ecology Graduates have nothing on my man Rush who I am soooo SO proud of.  CNN used some of his photos in a show on South Africa (still grinning Rush hun!). […]

  3. How sad. These are people who ought to know better, so-called Subject Matter Experts! Ha! Better to trust to old woodsman who sees the rhythm of nature, the unfolding of spring and the silent chill of winter.

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