THE AMENITY OF NATURE

One way of making-up our minds is to rely on distinctions between one thing and another. Even so, distinctions are regularly used to vindicate ends we already favour.

In the case of 'Nature' a distinction is frequently drawn between 'Nature Reserves', whose prime purpose is to safeguard wild life from our predations, and 'Amenity Facilities' that provide outdoor recreation in and close-by urban areas. This demarcation is, however, undermined by the economic reliance of 'Nature Reserves' on public tastes and government funding. The consequence of trying to please the likes and pockets of mostly urban visitors is that 'safe-havens' for animals, birds, insects, fungi, fish and woodlands are of only secondary importance. 'Nature Reserves' are thus seldom reserved for wild life, while 'Amenity Projects' provide a manicured spectacle of the 'countryside'.

Perhaps the most secure 'Nature Reserves' belong to those fortunate or canny enough to own large areas of land to keep  to themselves.

MKS