Hunter-gatherers anew?



Whilst there is clear evidence that humans are over-exploiting marine resources, there are many terrestrial resources in the UK that remain untapped.

Of particular note are species that were introduced to the British Isles in antiquity or more recent history. For instance animals such as rabbits, fallow deer, pheasants and grey squirrels are not native to Britain but were brought by humans during the last 1000 years and have since become well-established in the landscape.

In some areas, these species have established themselves so successfully that, in the absence of natural predators, their populations are becoming very large and they are now a threat to native wildlife – the introduced America grey squirrel which has outcompeted the native red squirrel is a classic example. Where introduced species are considered to represent a threat to native wildlife they are labelled as ‘invasive’ (bad).

But, as with most labels, perceptions are culturally determined. If we wished we could see these species in a positive light. They are after all, perfectly edible and could constitute an important source of food.