Living Landscape Schemes

Each Living Landscape scheme covers a large area of land: a naturally functioning landscape (such as a river catchment) often encompassing several Wildlife Trust nature reserves and other important wildlife areas. The schemes see individual Wildlife Trusts up and down the UK working with partners, landowners and local communities to restore the natural landscape.

These local schemes are all pieces of the jigsaw that will combine to form the wider Living Landscape we envisage: a national network of high-quality natural areas for people and wildlife.

Each Living Landscape scheme consists of:

Core areas of high quality wildlife habitat
Often these will be protected areas, nature reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) etc. These are the vital sanctuaries from which wildlife will be able to re-emerge into the wider landscape once it is restored.

Connections between core areas
Continuous corridors of suitable habitat, such as river valleys or diverse hedgerows, act as ‘wildlife highways’ allowing species to travel through areas disturbed by human influence as they disperse through the landscape to find suitable living conditions – this is even more important in the face of climate change. Habitats can also be connected by a series of stepping stones, rather than a large swath of continuous habitat. Stepping stones are smaller, unconnected natural areas, pockets of protected land that act as stop-off points for wildlife on the move – for example a series of copses in open grassland.

Permeability across the whole landscape
Land between the core areas and connecting habitats needs be more accessible to wildlife. It may not all be pristine habitat but we can make changes to the way that land is managed so that it is easier for wildlife to move through and re-colonise the landscape.

It is also important that we manage the wider countryside more sustainably so that we can continue to benefit from the essential ecosystem services provided by the natural environment, such as clean air and water, healthy soils, food and flood management.