As temperatures set to soar – trust explains how wetlands for wildlife could be the answer to stopping wildfires - Kent Wildlife Trust

As the southeast prepares for temperatures to soar to 36 degrees by the end of the week experts from the Wildlife Trust have explained how restoration of wetlands is crucial to preventing wildfires and helping nature thrive as we adapt to live through the climate crisis.

The Met Office reported that July 2022 was the driest July in the southeast since 1935 with the UK experiencing just 56% (46.3mm) of its average rainfall. Hosepipe bans are now in place to conserve water and Kent Fire and Rescue Service has issued advice to members of the public about what can be done to prevent wildfires.

Across the county Kent Wildlife Trust has been working to minimise the risk of fires at nature reserves, restoring wetlands to combat the risk of fire and provide the much needed habitat for nature to thrive.

In Ham Fen, Kent’s last remaining ancient semi-natural fenland, the trust have been using water buffalos and beavers to create thriving wetlands. The water buffalo open up the scrub and reedbeds, creating pools and puddles which become home to amphibians, fish and invertebrates whilst the beavers create dams, flooding parts of a river attracting insects and fish.

The introduction of bison, a joint wilding project with Wildwood Trust, at West Blean and Thornden Woods involved work to maintain existing and establish new ponds. Re-wetting the Blean, a partnership between the trust and RSPB is a re-wetting initiative aimed at making woodland more resilient to climate change. The work has seen ponds restored which encourages wildlife to thrive and could help prevent woodland fires from spreading. The ponds not only provide the bison with the 180 litres of drinking water they need each day, but have become home to new wildlife with rare dragonflies spotted in the area.

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Posted On: 10/08/2022

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