Overseas Lessons in Island Conservation
Published: 12 Jul 2017
The UK government must provide increased leadership and a strong, unified approach to island conservation, according to Joshua Powell, who has recently returned from travelling for eight weeks in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia, investigating best practice in the conservation of species diversity on island systems. Joshua’s travels were enabled by a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship Award.
Joshua, a Conservation Biologist and Geographer from Trellech, Monmouthshire, wanted to use his Fellowship to observe some of the world's best examples of island conservation. In New Zealand, an entire government department is dedicated to conservation and the issue of conservation is prominent among the public. Joshua argues that it is critical for the UK, as an island nation, to learn from countries such as New Zealand, particularly with regards to the UK's offshore islands.
During his Fellowship, Joshua met with a range of practitioners and policymakers, from members of ministerial offices to local field staff, in order to build a full picture of the state of island conservation in each location he visited. He involved himself in many of the most topical conservation conversations in the region, including Tasmania's bold plan to save the Tasmanian Devil through a program of eradication of diseased individuals and translocation of healthy individuals, and Fiji's presidency of the UN Oceans Conference.
“My Fellowship has opened a new window for me into the work of our partners in the South Pacific – and what tremendous work they are doing at that! The level of ambition for island conservation in the region, particularly in New Zealand, is exemplary and there are crucial lessons there for the UK” –Joshua Powell
Now back in the UK, Joshua has begun writing a report on the learning from his Fellowship, which will be entitled Island Conservation for an Island Nation. He will also be speaking to the RSPB's Overseas Territories team about his findings. In October, he will be setting off for the South Atlantic to meet with conservationists on the British Overseas Territories there, where he will learn about the conservation challenges they face and share insights from his time in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia.
Notes to Editors