The guide that accompanies the Convention on Biological Diversity states that;
“biodiversity is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend.”
It is clear from this that biodiversity, like the landscape, is strongly influenced by the actions of people. Indeed it can be argued that there are no truly natural habitats in the UK as every part of the country has been affected by the influence of people. Just as cultural factors have shaped biodiversity, so too has biodiversity shaped culture. There are important cultural meanings attached to various aspects of biodiversity, many of which express the relationship between people and place. Shared approaches to the management of landscapes and biodiversity that consider these natural and cultural factors are likely to result in more effective use of resources.
Recent decades have seen many landscape scale changes in biodiversity across the British Isles, many of which are associated with changes in land management that have been driven by technological advances in agriculture and changing patterns of subsidies. Landscape scale changes to biodiversity require landscape scale responses. Techniques emerging from landscape ecology highlight the importance of considering landscapes as a whole and particularly the connectivity of habitats.