Thinking differently and working collaboratively should be the key drivers towards delivering a strong and resilient upland landscape for Wales’ future generations.
That will be the message from Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Clare Pillman when she takes to the virtual stage to address delegates on the opening day of the Environment Evidence 2020 conference on Monday.
The event, hosted by Environment Platform Wales, will explore the theme of resilience in the Welsh uplands with a particular focus on what the next decade holds for the landscape from a range of environmental, social and economic perspectives. It will bring together stakeholders from across the public, private and third sectors to discuss the challenges and opportunities and explore how the latest research can help shape the policies of the future.
Delivering the keynote address on day one of the conference, Clare Pillman will say: “Wales’ upland environment means so many different things to so many, evolving over centuries of our interaction with nature. From food sources to clean water supplies, thousands of people depend on these landscapes to sustain our way of life. Sustainable management of the uplands and their habitats can help to mitigate flood risk and provide the essential support systems of a range of wildlife. They are the places where people flock to live and to work and, as we’ve seen over recent weeks, they are also the places people have come to escape and to enjoy as lockdown restrictions have eased. However, the environment, and the vital benefits and services it provides, is under pressure – from climate change, from Brexit, from changing social and economic circumstances, and from the impacts of unsustainable use. The challenges, but also the opportunities that the uplands face over the coming decade are likely to be greater than anything we’ve experienced over the last century. That is why I hope the discussions we will be having this week will enable us to think and to act differently and encourage us to be braver in our aspirations for how we manage our uplands in the future.”