Pig mess left behind...
Published: 24 May 2021
Our wonderful woolly pigs have now left Home Farm and what a wonderful job they have done, writes Simon Roper, Director of Ambios Ltd, partners in our rewilding project Wild for People.
Thanks to support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, they stayed for about 6 weeks. We chose the Mangalitzas because of their easy temperament and lineage to ancient forms (wild boar) that used to roam across much of this landscape as essential players in a rich biodiversity of living things.
Our pigs (rented from Nick Viney at Rewilding Futures) have used their #pigpower and ‘disrupted’ parts of their enclosure, disturbing the compacted soil (a result of years of hard grazing) and releasing its seed bank.
As they dug for roots and tubers and wallowed in the mud they creating open areas of soil which invertebrates and seeds will now colonise. We will now wait, watch and monitor - to see what happens.
We are expecting more and new plant species to appear, a greater variety of invertebrates to be around and therefore more and new bird species to start appearing - but this will all take time, not just one year, but maybe 3 or 5 or more.
#Pigpower = more space for insects and seeds = more small mammals and insect/seed eating birds = more barn owls and kestels.
We need now to see how nature bounces back. One thing is for sure - if past experience is anything to go by, it won’t disappoint.
In the meantime, we will now review what happened, how effective the pigs were, the costs, the work involved and the extent of the area they occupied (was it too small, too large?). We’ll think about how we might work with them in the future.
We are mindful that while our focus was on pigs on this occasion, they are just one (important) player. We need to look at the ecological impact of different ‘disrupters’ (pigs), browsers (sheep, deer) and grazers (cattle) to see how they might help (in the right number and place, for the right amount of time) to enhance biodiversity gains across Home Farm.
This is the exciting opportunity that active rewilding offers and your chance to come and experience the 'new look’ landscape. We’re in it for the long term, so you’ll be able to revisit and see and experience the changes over time. We’ve begun a rewilding future on the Sharpham Estate.