I'm with the Environmental Change and Management MSc course, staying at Blencathra Field Studies Centre in the Lake District. The focus of the field course is on understanding the complexities of managing landscapes, trying to reconcile conservation, recreation, attracting tourism and income. 40,000 people live in the Lake District National Park and 15 million people a year visit.
Over the few days we learn about the different forces pulling at the landscape and how they are managed, from traditional sheep farming, the tourism and recreational access, through generating the rural economy, through wildlife, conservation and rewilding. You are left with a sense and understanding of a tangled socio-ecological landscape, muddling its way through various development and conservation challenges, and yet somehow remaining largely intact, vital and absolutely breathtaking in the constantly shifting weather of Cumbria.
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University