Biodiversity Conservation and the Traditional Management of Common Land: The Case of the New Forest

  • Adrian C. Newton
Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 2)


Common land is widely recognized to be of high value for biodiversity conservation, which is often attributed to the maintenance of traditional patterns of land use. The decline in such traditions could represent a significant potential cause of biodiversity loss, and for this reason, livestock grazing is being widely reintroduced to common land as a conservation management approach. However, evidence is lacking regarding the effectiveness of traditional management approaches for biodiversity conservation. This paper critically evaluates such approaches with specific reference to the New Forest National Park, UK. Evidence is presented indicating the exceptional importance of this area for biodiversity, which can largely be attributed to the low-input pastoral land use associated with commoning activity that has been maintained over a period of centuries. However, evidence is also presented indicating that at least 170 species have been lost from the New Forest in recent decades, partly because of overgrazing. The reasons for this paradox are explored, with reference to how the commoning tradition has evolved in recent decades. Such traditions will need to continue to evolve if the New Forest socio-ecological system is to be resilient to future change.


Biodiversity Conservation Biodiversity Loss Livestock Grazing Commoning Activity Saproxylic Beetle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Applied Sciences, Christchurch House, Talbot CampusBournemouth UniversityPooleDorset

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