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From a young age I became fascinated in the natural world, but it was always heathlands with their exciting insects and reptiles that I loved the most. When it came to deciding on a topic for my dissertation and final major portfolio at University, a habitat study of Lowland Heathland was my first choice. As research went on I was shocked to see how diminished this habitat was after the 20th century, and how even today it remains under threat. As a result, I was inspired to see what I could do to change this. ‘Heathland’ is an exploration of one of the UK’s most diverse, but also endangered habitat types. This body of work was undertaken not only to inform and educate the public on the species that can be found on heaths, as a way of raising appreciation, but more crucially to bring to light the conservation work that goes into preserving the habitat; an often overlooked and unknown side of this story. The overall goal of this was to raise awareness for heaths as an undervalued landscape, to show people there’s more to them than just gorse.

Historically, heaths were part of the working landscape and were valued, as they provided our ancestors with many subsistence resources, but over time attitudes changed and the 20th century saw heathlands destruction on a mass scale; converting the landscape to areas of housing and agriculture. Today its use has switched to one of recreation and the amount of heath remaining in the UK totals around 20% of all the heathland left in Europe. Therefore it is seen that we have an obligation to preserve what is left, but few people are aware of this and while no longer in decline, recreation continues to impact heathland negatively. Since June of 2014 I have been working closely with management organisations across Cornwall to create the ‘management series’ found within this body of work. This aims to highlight several techniques used to preserve Lowland Heathland and how it impacts particular species. A combination of natural history and photojournalistic photography has been used to create work that is intended for use as an educational

Jack Hendy

39.

205DPI - No.23  

This month features a huge variation of coverage, starting with one of our own trusted photographers Dominic Steinmann in a fantastic Real T...

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