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Natur Cymru Natur Cymru

The cuckoo heralding Spring, the swift screaming its summer joy, the uplands echoing to the call of golden plover and Greenland white-fronted geese returning to winter in the Dyfi estuary: these are all species in trouble. Articles in this edition look at efforts to understand the causes of decline, so that action can be taken to restore populations to health.

Issue 48

Issue 48

Autumn 2013

When the State of Nature report was launched in Cardiff in May 2013, with separate reports for the four countries of the UK, the picture it painted was one of nature in retreat. Yet our environment would be a whole lot worse without the efforts of a huge range of individuals and organisations intent on its management in an intelligent, genuinely sustainable way. Read about the essential work needed to make the return of the beaver a reality, for example; and initiatives designed to brighten the dismal prospects of pollinating insects.

Issue 47

Issue 47

Summer 2013

As holiday-makers head for the beautiful beaches of Wales, we take a look at some of the issues surrounding the marine environment. While governments and decision-makers are grindingly slow to secure protected areas, others take a more active approach with conscientious, long term monitoring, or involving the public in 'citizen science' projects. Inland there is much hard work restoring meadows and blanket bog, which can only be good news for endangered honeybees, though sites like Crug-y-Byddar are in danger because of a policy loophole.

Issue 46

Issue 46

Spring 2013

This Spring we focus on the work of the National Trust in Wales. The Trust is often associated with the care of stately houses, but it does far more than that: it lives up well to its founding purpose of preserving land of natural beauty, its features, and plants and animals. Wales comes to the fore again with pioneering work at the National Botanic Garden, using plant DNA to ‘barcode’ the Welsh flora. This work could bring benefits for human as well as environmental health, and other exciting possibilities. We can be justly proud when a national institution punches above its weight like this.

Issue 45

Issue 45

Winter 2012-13

This issue reflects on the great opportunities which exist for getting out into the countryside, from the perspective of a volunteer working on footpaths; a guide-writer checking the network; and a former leading politician, who drove forward a great endeavour, the opening of a Coast Path for the whole of Wales. Let’s hope similar drive will bring the interests of walkers and of nature together. Access should be an agency for improving biodiversity rather than a pressure on it: appropriate management benefits both the walker and the land through which the walker passes.

Issue 44

Issue 44

Autumn 2012

This issue sees an additional 4 colour pages bringing you an even richer mix of wildlife stories. Many have a coastal theme – seaweeds, sand dunes and island species. Also included are the winner and runner-up of our writing competition.

Issue 43

Issue 43

Summer 2012

The badger is the emblem of the Wildlife Trusts, so the badger on our cover serves to introduce a number of articles by or about Welsh Wildlife Trusts. They reveal how far the Wildlife Trusts have come, and how important they are as champions of Welsh wildlife and as a bridge bringing people and nature together at a local level. Giving prominence to the work of the Wildlife Trusts in this their centenary year is our way of raising a glass to wish them and their cause a bright future.

Issue 42

Issue 42

Spring 2012

Brecon Beacons edition - find out the latest in conservation in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Spring is especially busy this year, with the Government’s 'Living Wales ' consultation underway. Huw Jenkin’s writes a ‘layman’s view’ of this radical re-think of the way we manage our natural resources - it would be good if Natur Cymru readers engaged with the consultation to make their thoughts and feelings influence what happens next. Read Huw’s full article. On 5th May 2012 the Wales Coast Path opens, making Wales the only country in the world with a continuous coastal path. If you link it to the Offa’s Dyke Path on the borders, you have over 1000 miles of continuous trail.

Issue 41

Issue 41

Winter 2011

This marine-themed edition includes sea slugs, seabirds, seals and smelt. There is also a personal and in depth look at the management of Cwm Idwal NNR, and a look at the strange world of slime moulds.

Issue 40

Issue 40

Autumn 2011

Nature conservation is about taking the long view. Attitudes to leatherback turtles have changed over time, and long term monitoring of house sparrows has seen a decline in populations. Looking ahead, work is needed now to maintain populations of reptiles and lichens.

Issue 39

Issue 39

Summer 2011

It's ten years since Natur Cymru was launched. This special anniversary issue takes both a good look back at some successes and failures and a hard look forward at challenges still facing the wildlife of Wales.

Issue 38

Issue 38

Spring 2011

In this issue we travel to Pembrokeshire, a county full of contrasts. An affluent land of the retired, it is the only Welsh county with two conservative MPs but it is also riddled with feisty eco-pioneers. It has led Welsh policy change to make room for sustainable lifestyles in low impact homes and also has the most organic food businesses, local food markets, wholefood shops, wood pellet stoves, green fairs and complementary practitioners. You could go there just to feast your eyes on its beautiful hills and coast but, for the people who live there, there's more to it than that. Sustainable farming projects benefit both local businesses and the natural wildlife, while a careful renovation of property safeguarded a roost of rare bats.

Issue 37

Issue 37

Winter 2010

This issue moves between two worlds - amphibians live on land and in water, shingle ridges perform an important service between land and sea, and 200 years ago the building of William Maddocks' great embankment, the Cob at Porthmadog, drastically altered the Glaslyn estuary and the wildlife that lives there. Will the Welsh Assembly Government's Natural Environment Framework move us from a world of waste and destruction to one of increased biodiversity, sustainable development and a workable strategy for coping with climate change? Let's hope so. This issue also sees our first Letters page - let us have your views on what is happening with wildlife in Wales.

Issue 36

Issue 36

Autumn 2010

This issue features more entries for our 'Inspired by Nature' writing competition – they are too good not to publish. In Spring we conducted a reader survey and it was heartening to read the responses. Many of you asked for a letters page, but for that we need letters! Have you got something to say? Write or email us with your thoughts. Two articles in this issue, on badgers and fencing in the uplands, should provide plenty of scope for discussion.

Issue 35

Issue 35

Summer 2010

Can the enthusiasm that people feel towards nature be a barometer for the health of the environment? One measure of the former has come from our Inspired by Nature writing competition, and it's a pleasure to publish the winning article in this issue. But 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and there is no sign that the decline in our habitats and species is going to stop soon.

Issue 34

Issue 34

Spring 2010

This is a crucial time of year for birds, whose heightened activity includes dawn choirs, territorial displays and collecting nesting material, and there is much in this issue to please bird enthusiasts. And spring in Wales wouldn't be complete without wild daffodils

Issue 33

Issue 33

Winter 2009

As world leaders meet in Copenhagen to discuss the future of climate change, how has Wales fared when tackling environmental issues? From the beginnings of organic farming and the birth of the Soil Association to a group of 'ordinary people' travelling to Brussels to discuss their concerns about climate change, Wales can hold its head high when it comes facing the issues head on.

Issue 32

Issue 32

Autumn 2009

Landhoppers are seemingly benign visitors to our shores but the invasive Himalayan balsam presents a challenge, while feral goats are both a joy and a threat. Seaweed can be harvested sustainably but a coal 'harvest' brings noise, dust and pollution for years at a time. These are just a few of the contrasts in conservation, where there are no easy answers.

Issue 31

Issue 31

Summer 2009

Earlier this year the National Trust hosted a celebratory exhibition of the work of Charles Tunnicliffe, which included a talk about the great wildlife artist by Philip Snow. Tunnicliffe’s paintings and illustrations in more than 250 books won him a huge following, but perhaps not the artistic acclaim he deserved. As Philip pointed out, dead birds, which are relatively easy to depict, can be art, but capturing life itself, so hard, is considered mere illustration by the art world.

Issue 30

Issue 30

Spring 2009

Welsh islands and their seabird colonies have long attracted outstanding research talent. The fascination they exert has helped to keep researchers committed to long-term studies, which over time become important evidence of the causes and effects of environmental change. We all benefit, not because these studies generate income for local communities, although they do, but because they enhance our reputation as a rewarding place to do research; richly endowed with nature, ours is a country where learning counts, a culture sympathetic to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

Issue 29

Issue 29

Winter 2008

Seven years ago a new blueprint for our woodlands was launched. Called Woodlands for Wales, it promised to be a 50-year strategy for trees and woodlands. After only seven years, the vision has become opaque enough to require a revamp and a further consultation exercise, which finished in October. The policy needed to catch up with other policy changes, such as the Assembly’s Environment Strategy and One Wales document, and the rising importance of Climate Change.

Issue 28

Issue 28

Autumn 2008

How much do you value nature? As individuals we can probably answer that, but what about industry, councils, nations? Business would have us believe that nature only has an economic value when it is a commodity for people to use, but what if this is no longer true? This Autumn issue highlights how we need to reassess our thinking.

Issue 27

Issue 27

Summer 2008

Biodiversity conservation often boils down to identifying what is special and trying to maintain it in situ. The best way of conserving wildlife is to provide it with an environment rich in opportunities.

Issue 26

Issue 26

Spring 2008

Traditonal, flower-rich meadows are now so rare in Wales they are beyond the experience of most of us. We should be grateful to the pioneering few who are fighting to save them. It's not just the plants that are affected - there's good and bad news about butterflies in this issue too.

Issue 25

Issue 25

Winter 2007

This issue is full of accounts of what people are doing for nature, especially at a landscape scale - blanket bogs, coastal heath, wetlands, mountains and farms all feature. Plus a closer look at water voles and Bechstein's bats.

Issue 24

Issue 24

Autumn 2007

It's good to give attention to less spectacular and obvious subjects. Door snails, tree lungwort lichens, freshwater pearl mussels and tufted saxifrage all have a voice in this issue.

Issue 23

Issue 23

Summer 2007

The best argument for conservation is that it is fun. A hay meadow in high summer, before it is cut, is a joy to the senses. It’s a sad irony that those of us who most enjoy getting out and seeing nature are also those most likely to be aware of the environmental cost of too much travel. This edition takes a long look at those joys and responsibilities.

Issue 22

Issue 22

Spring 2007

You are never any distance from wildlife in Wales; if close contact with nature makes your pulse beats a little faster, then this is a great place to be. Winter and spring are exciting seasons for the birdwatcher, and birds feature prominently in this issue.

Issue 21

Issue 21

Winter 2006

Renewable energy from biomass crops, what to do with all that waste slate and some surprising news about the Welsh sea trout (sewin) - all is revealed...

Issue 20

Issue 20

Autumn 2006

Two or three generations ago, farming communities on the Llyn peninsula wrested a living from the land. These days Big is Beautiful, with plans to build a barrage across the Severn Estuary. It is not surprising that such huge schemes appeal to those fascinated by power. It is much harder to find local, sustainable solutions.

Issue 19

Issue 19

Summer 2006

This issue follows the launch of the Wales Environment Strategy 2006 - a national vision for our environment. Sadly, for all the good intentions, biodiversity is still in decline - we look at some of the threats.

Issue 18

Issue 18

Spring 2006

There's a marine theme to this issue, with articles on seabed mapping, the sarnau of Cardigan Bay, a look at the up and coming Marine Bill and an exploration of our coasts. Honey buzzards, deer management and churchyard conservation also feature.

Issue 17

Issue 17

Winter 2005

Whether it is making discoveries about the progress of the polecat, tracking the success of reintroduced sand lizards, or the bonus of Wales’ first breeding bearded tits, dedication and commitment lie behind these stories.

Issue 16

Issue 16

Autumn 2005

Did you know you can identify grasshoppers by their songs? Have you ever wondered why the leek became the national emblem of Wales? Or maybe your interests lie with the hen harrier, coming back from near extinction in Wales.

Issue 15

Issue 15

Summer 2005

With the grim news that one in five plants is under threat, widely reported in the media earlier this year (2005), this edition looks at Sustainable Development and the forthcoming Environment Strategy. But we don’t forget to enjoy nature too, watching bumblebees with numbers on their backs, hearing of the magical qualities of moonwort, or discovering an octopus under a rock.

Issue 14

Issue 14

Spring 2005

This issue looks at tackling climate change, via wind energy, storing carbon and using reedbeds. Is it the warmer climate that has brought leatherback turtles to Welsh shores?

Issue 13

Issue 13

Winter 2004

When John and Sally Seymour published 'The Fat of the Land' in 1961 they set thousands of people on the search for self-sufficiency. Living, and dying, in Pembrokeshire, John would have been well aware of the problems of neglected canals and nitrogen deposition, but would also have delighted in porpoises off the Welsh coast and efforts to save the marsh fritillary.

Issue 12

Issue 12

Autumn 2004

Nothing connects us to nature more firmly, or reminds us of our animal biology more clearly, than food. There is plenty in this edition to illustrate the happy union of food and nature.

Issue 11

Issue 11

Summer 2004

In the virtual world, nature has never had it so good. Never have so many people been engaged in writing action plans and framing policies, not just to save biodiversity, but to enhance it. The challenge is to close the gap between the aspirations reflected in these plans and policies, and what we see actually happening out there under the open sky.

Issue 10

Issue 10

Spring 2004

How 'natural' is nature? There are few, if any, parts of Wales which have not been altered by human activity. For good or ill, it's within our power to influence the wildlife around us, as many of the articles in this edition show.

Issue 09

Issue 09

Winter 2003

What and where is the Welsh environment? So asks Morgan Parry in this issue. Wales has commitments to sustainable development but are we exploiting natural resources abroad?

Issue 08

Issue 08

Autumn 2003

Wales is surrounded by water on three sides, with over 1600km of coast – there's a lot happening around these shores, from avocets breeding at the Gwent Levels to mason bees burrowing into soft coastal cliffs.

Issue 07

Issue 07

Summer 2003

There's a food theme to this issue: growing and buying it locally. Do our children understand the link between people and land? Meanwhile, the otters are back!

Issue 06

Issue 06

Spring 2003

Wales is unique in having an intensive, field-by-field survey of its countryside. The information it provides helps decide which habitats, such as heathlands and wetlands, are most in need of restoration and protection.

Issue 05

Issue 05

Winter 2002

There is much we can do to help the wildlife around us. Helping existing species such as sparrows or black grouse with nest boxes or habitat management is one way: reintroducing species is a lot more controversial.

Issue 04

Issue 04

Summer 2002

Is the natural environment playing a less important role in the lives of each generation? There is plenty in this edition that shows how closely are lives are connected to nature.

Issue 03

Issue 03

Spring 2002

The forest was once a place where all habitats could be found, but these days, with land management primarily determined by grants, land has to be one thing or the other. Surely there's an argument for softening these boundaries and letting nature behave naturally?

Issue 02

Issue 02

Winter 2001

As the consequences of climate change become ever more measurable, it's clear that conservation policies must take of account nature's need to adapt. Will there be nightingales? What will happen to the bluebells?

Issue 01

Issue 01

Summer 2001

When it was first suggested that Wales needed a new, all-encompassing environment and wildlife magazine, no one could have guessed it would be reborn amidst the drama of a Foot and Mouth epidemic. Will the powers-that-be rethink rural policy in the light of these events?