National Nature Reserves (NNRs) are one of the greatest achievements of British nature conservation, but there is good reason to be concerned for their future. Funding cuts mean that site-managers often lack the resources necessary to adequately manage NNRs, while changing priorities are preventing the reserves from fulfilling their primary aim: to protect Britain’s best wildlife habitats. Peter Marren argues that the NNRs situation has reached a critical point and explains why we need to care about their future.
National Nature Reserves (NNRs) are the UK’s premier wildlife sites: the very best examples of wildlife habitats, and also places where nature is supposed to come first, above all other interests. A minority of NNRs – I shall use the acronym for convenience – are also designated for geological reasons. Readers of British Wildlife will, I am sure, know plenty of NNRs, and perhaps even do voluntary work on one, bird censuses, perhaps, or butterfly transects, or scrub-bashing.