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Brownfield Conservation

Brownfields have ecological value too!

As part of my interest in local ecology and conservation, I've developed an increasing interest in areas of land that are often referred to as "brownfields". That is to say land that has previously been built-upon, but is now empty and largely vegetated over. Typically, most vacant post-industrial land falls into this category.

Some people refer to this sort of terrain as "waste ground", as it is often derelict and possesses (to some people) limited aesthetic appeal. However, I find such land rich in both cultural heritage, and largely overlooked in an ecological sense.

Former site of Westwood power station, Wigan. Now a typical brownfield

As an ecologist, I can appreciate how such land is often denounced as species-poor and low in biodiversity. But at the same time, I can't help but feel that brownfields get a bit of a poor deal, and are too readily dismissed as valueless.

Many brownfield sites, especially those featuring mature grassland and scrub, can be an excellent habitat for invertebrates, especially insects such as butterflies. It is my hope to undertake post-grad research in this area, once I finish my current degree.

As part of my interest in researching the ecological value of brownfields, I've created a dedicated website. It's still a little bare at the moment (ironically enough) but I hope to develop it further in time.

Click here to visit the Brownfield Conservation website

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