Land Journal December 2016–January 2017

Mike Swain

Editor, Land Journal (RICS)

Where is the largest concentration of leopards in the world? The answer is Mumbai, India.


I learned this surprising fact at the preview of Sir David Attenborough’s spectacular new series 'Planet Earth II' now airing on the BBC.

For the first time, a landmark natural history series is including a programme on cities. Sir David pointed out that almost half the world’s human population live in cities, remarking that the urban environment is the newest and fastest-growing habitat, with a predicted expansion of more than 30% in land area over the next ten years.

Surveyors, of course, are at the forefront of planning those future cities. Sir David, who is involved in several organisations that aim to improve urban environments for animals, said people are becoming more aware of wildlife: “The movement of wildlife into the city is growing. People are up in arms when even a small piece of green space is developed.”

In this issue

Surveyors also have an important role in land management and flood resilience. This issue of Land Journal has an article on holistic natural flood prevention and land stewardship. These are timely topics in the wake of the recent report from the Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee pointing out that 5 million people in England are at risk of being flooded and winter rains are again starting to cause flooding.

Launching the report, committee chair Neil Parish MP said: “Our proposals will deliver a far more holistic approach to flooding and water supply management, looking at catchments as a whole. Flood management must include much wider use of natural measures such as leaky dams, tree planting and improved soil management. And some areas of farmland should be used to store flood water.” Our article looks in detail how this can be achieved.

Elsewhere in this issue there is a lively report from Robert Moore on his Nuffield Farming Scholarship looking at agricultural practices in different parts of the world.

I am always keen to receive articles from students and others starting out in the profession on their research or aspects of their work, so do please get in touch.

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