conservation biology tourism

Community service conservation

Imagine having lived near a forest reserve for years, finding that it isn’t a reserve but for sale and to be cleared, then convincing a few friends to join you in buying that forest, having it reclassified as a reserve and developing a heritage interpretive trail, and only then go looking for money to fund it (and, incidentally, find that money in the Rainbow Warrior retribution fund). Fergus Sutherland did just that – Shank’s Bush is now owned and managed by the Papatowai Forest Heritage Trust – and this is just one of his stories of community service in conservation.

Fergus and Mary Sutherland are pioneers of ecotourism. We trace Fergus’s amazing career bridging conservation, farming and tourism in one of the world’s most special places. Fergus and Mary now run run Catlins Ecotours.

We only have an hour but you get the feeling this conversation could go on for a very long time. We didn’t even get to talk about painting, or stone walls, or penguins, or gardening, or oral history, or the Otago Conservation Board, or Forest and Bird, or writing, or… (I think we’re going to have to have him back).

Some of the places we talk about (ex Sam via Flickr)

Shank’s Bush

“Possumer’s Track” Papatowai (through Tahakopa reserve)

Papatowai Catlins bush

Shane’s number of the week: 2.6% reduction in world harvest, which despite being the third highest on record is low enough to produce a global deficit of food.  Shane discusses George Monbiot’s argument that we may have gotten our understanding of the relationship between food and climate change very wrong.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking:  The 2012 report of Education For All was released today.

Train spotting: More pictures from the Catlins