Shaping the Wild by David Elias & Iolo Williams


This book examines the reality of farming’s impact on nature by studying a Welsh hill farm.

Farming has often been viewed as harmful to the environment, causing friction between those wanting to protect wildlife and the farmers whose livelihoods depend on the land. Conservationists and governments frequently propose well-meaning ideas and policies that all too often do not have the intended results. In this captivating debut, conservationist David Elias explores a farm in Snowdonia National Park and unpacks the gritty reality of trying to reconcile hill farming and environmentalism. Visiting through the seasons, he forms a deep relationship with the land and the people who work it. It is also a farm rich in nature, and he brings his experienced eye to how its wildlife has been shaped by changing farming practices over generations. Through lyrical prose and first-hand conversations with farmers, Elias also shows what current government policies have achieved—or not achieved—and why it is so important for us to understand what it really takes to ensure farming families remain on the land while simultaneously allowing nature to flourish.

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