In this informed, incisive and passionate commentary on the state of nature and conservation, Mark Avery reflects on our relationship with the wildlife around us. From the cats that pass through his garden to the chronic decline of farmland wildlife, from the Pasqueflowers he visits every spring to the proportion of national income devoted to saving nature – everything is connected, and everything is considered.
This book analyses what is wrong with certain ways we do wildlife conservation but explores some of its many successes too. How can we do better to restore wildlife to everybody's lives? We know how to conserve species and habitats – it's time to roll out conservation measures on a much bigger scale. This is a societal choice in which every nature lover can play their part. Reflections sets out what is needed, and what part the state, environmental charities and we as individuals can play in making that happen.
This highly personal work from a life embedded in and dedicated to nature does not shy away from the harsh realities we face, but its message, ultimately, is one of hope.
1. Glimpses of wildlife
2. The state of wildlife in the UK
3. What is wildlife conservation?
4. Wildlife conservation successes
5. Why are we failing so badly?
6. What wildlife needs (and how to provide it)
Notes, references and further reading
Dr Mark Avery is a senior UK conservationist with nearly four decades' experience of giving wildlife a better future. The author of numerous previous books, including Inglorious: Conflict in the Uplands (2015), Mark worked for the RSPB for 25 years before going freelance in 2011. He lives in rural Northamptonshire.
"A timely, brutally honest, yet inspiring account on what has gone wrong with wildlife conservation, and how we can put it right."
– Stephen Moss, naturalist and author
"If I were 'king for a day', Avery would be instantly installed as the benign dictator of conservation in the UK. If you love wildlife, read this, think about this, and act upon this."
– Chris Packham, broadcaster and author of Back to Nature
"Mark Avery is uniquely qualified to write this immensely stimulating and thought-provoking book. Reflecting on his lifetime in conservation he discusses the successes and failures of the past, and draws important lessons for more effective conservation in the future."
– Professor Ian Newton FRS, ornithologist and conservationist
"Reflections is a work of distilled campaigning wisdom, told with the irrepressible optimism of a passionate advocate for nature who's spent decades working tirelessly for wildlife. With wit, verve and clarity of prose, Mark Avery lays out a strikingly radical set of proposals for how to turn around the decline of wildlife in these isles."
– Guy Shrubsole, environmental campaigner and author of The Lost Rainforests of Britain and Who Owns England?
"Dr Avery must be congratulated on this important book. He hits the nail on the head. I found myself nodding my head vigorously while reading it. The time for action is now."
– Baron Randall of Uxbridge, RSPB Council member and peer