A definitive natural history of the Gower Peninsula, coinciding with its 50th anniversary as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, from its heritage coast and its appeal to the naturalist, to the geology, geomorphology, conservation and ecological history of this diverse area.
Located to the south west of Swansea and often described as Wales in miniature, Gower Peninsula was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in May 1956. The area is unique in terms of the variety of the habitats and species that occur within its 188 square kms. As a result, it has a greater diversity of conservation designations than almost anywhere else in the UK.
The natural history of Gower is like most parts of the British Isles - inextricably linked to the activities of man across many thousand years. New Naturalist Gower uses the evolving landscape and the effect that the associated changes have had on species and habitats as its core approach. It provides a detailed examination of:
The integration of the archaeological and historic landscape with the natural landscape and its associated species
The geological creation of the peninsula
Man's influence on the natural environment over the centuries
The coast and channel, including the limestone cliffs, beaches, caves and saltwater marsh
The environmental impact of the Sea Empress oil disaster in 1996, which discharged 72,000 tonnes of oil into the sea off Gower
The ongoing conservation of the area and the contribution that naturalists can make
Mullard also looks at notable plants species and the over-wintering bird populations on the estuary, which are of international importance. The culmination of years of research and rich with the latest information and full colour illustrations, New Naturalist Gower is a valuable source of information on this diverse and fascinating area.
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Jonathan Mullard is a professional ecologist who specialises in the management of protected areas. While he has contributed papers to conferences and seminars this is his first book. A naturalist from his early days, he is especially interested in coastal environments and common land. He spent a considerable part of his career in Gower and in 1996 organised a national conference to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the area's designation, which led directly to new legislation for AONBs. He is currently Director of Park Management for Northumberland National Park Authority. A keen collector of the New Naturalist series, he hopes that his contribution will increase awareness of the importance of the Gower landscape and the need for its conservation.