Thursday 16 March 2023
A delegation of representatives from across the United States joined Peak District teams to learn more about international conservation ambitions for ‘30by30’.
Climate and policy analysts, biologists and forestry experts from Maine, California, New Mexico and Michigan were welcomed by the Peak District National Park Authority and others, including the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England.
With a focus on climate change impacts in the Peak District’s uplands, the delegates were introduced to the Dark Peak with a visit to a snowy Pennine Way on the Snake Summit with the Moors for the Future Partnership.
The ‘30by30’ initiative – at the heart of the visit – is a worldwide initiative for governments to designate 30% of Earth's land and ocean area as protected areas by 2030.
Alongside the Moors for the Future Partnership team, the US delegates were given a hands-on insight into more than 20 years’ of upland conservation restoration across the Peak District and South Pennies, which has turned around the fortunes of vast areas of previously degraded habitats.
The Pennine Way also provided an example of looking after a ‘semi-wild’ landscape with understanding of best practice managing sites so close to both industry and dense populations.
Following a recent visit to the region by UK national parks minister Trudy Harrison, the delegates were also introduced to projects as part of the Defra Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) Programme on local estates; working on initiatives across climate, nature, people and place.
Both the US and UK governments have pledged their commitment to delivering on 30by30 targets, with both countries said to be keen to collaborate on halting species loss and ecosystem protection alongside climate change mitigation and economic security.
Welcoming the delegation at the Peak District National Park Authority’s head office in Bakewell, chief executive Phil Mulligan said: “Not only is the Peak District the UK’s first and pioneering national park, but we are also part of a national and global family of protected landscapes. Wherever you are across the planet, these vital places have the same myriad challenges and opportunities that come with caring for the world’s most treasured habitats and wildlife.
“Where we may lack in sheer geography compared to our US counterparts, a ground-breaking approach to conservation at an ambitious scale for the UK, means we have plenty to share in terms of knowledge and understanding – and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to welcome the US team alongside some of our other local partners.”
Jennifer Norris, Deputy Secretariat for Biodiversity and Habitat at California Natural Resources Agency added: “We were impressed and inspired by the incredible work underway by so many different partners across the Peak District National Park. The scope and scale of restoration work is truly breath-taking. Your partnership approach has motivated us all to do even more to protect biodiversity and address climate change back home in the US, especially as part of the much wider global picture where we can all play a role.”
Thomas Christensen, Climate Policy Lead at the British Consulate in Los Angeles said: "It was wonderful to see UK and US collaboration on rolling out ambitious restoration efforts, rural economy growth and climate change mitigation action to achieve the 30 by 30 target - conserving 30% of land and sea by 2030. Colleagues from California, Maine, Michigan and New Mexico were impressed about the Peak District's large-scale peat restoration and sharing their own lessons and expertise."