After the Second World War, technological advances
and post-rationing initiatives encouraged intensive high-production
based agriculture and many pastoral areas were ploughed up for arable
crops. Intensive use of herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilisers
reduced the wildlife value of the area dramatically and the chalk
downland habitat of animals, birds, insects and plants was destroyed
or seriously threatened.
Since the 1990s, government initiatives for agri-environment schemes,
such as the Countryside Stewardship
, have encouraged farmers to revert back to more environmentally
sustainable methods of farming and food production.
With the announcement in 2005 of the new, wider-reaching Environmental
Stewardship scheme, farmland wildlife should benefit from more extensive
farming methods like those we have been practising at Shabden Park
Farm for eleven years.