ags logo

Restoring Native Alpine Plants at Mardale

November 27, 2020

Native alpine plants had been all but destroyed at Mardale. But with the help of four organisations, they’re now re-establishing and bringing a host of wildlife back to the area!

Find out more with our President-Elect, David Morris, and his talk ‘Restoring Native Alpine Plants: The Mardale Mountain Project.’

Farming Practices Endanger Alpine Plants

Alpine plants face many dangers in the wild. One of these is unsustainable farming practices.

In David’s talk, you’ll hear of how years of overgrazing had led native alpine plants to all but die out at Mardale. These plants did not evolve to be grazed, meaning that hungry livestock can put them at real risk.

Fortunately, four organisations – the Alpine Garden Society, the RSPB, Natural England and United Utilities – got together on the Mardale Mountain Project and decided to stop this madness!

Watch David’s talk to discover how they stopped this disaster in its tracks to restore native alpine plants to the fells around RSPB Haweswater.

Climate Change Threatens Alpine Plants

A significant threat to alpine plants also exists due to climate change.

Many high altitude alpine plants need minus temperatures and snow melts to flourish. As the climate grows warmer, the snow recedes and these plants migrate up mountains along with it.

The World Wildlife Foundation estimates that alpines are moving up mountains at a rate of 0.5-4 metres every year.

If this continues, in a few years these plants will have nowhere to go! They’ll become extinct – and so will the wildlife that depends on them.


Other Dangers to Alpine Plants

Other factors also endanger alpine plants and their habitats. For example, urban sprawl, road and dam building all add to the fragmentation of habitats and the eating up of space occupied by alpine plants.

Tourism to regions rich in alpine plants also sometimes contributes to the destruction of these areas as they expand.

Restoring Native Alpine Plants

The Alpine Garden Society are a registered charity dedicated to the conservation of alpine plants and their habitats.

We fund conservation projects that protect and restore alpine plants, provide bursaries to educate alpine plant specialists, provide free resources to educate the public about alpine plants (like our alpine plant encyclopaedia), fund research into alpine plant physiology, ecology and cultivation, and spread the word about alpine plants and the dangers they face in the wild.

We also campaign on wider environmental issues that affect alpine plants and ensure we do not fund companies that are contributing to climate change and other environmental problems.

How Can You Help?

You can help conserve alpine plants for future generations with a one-off donation to our charity (donate £10, £15, £50).

But! Perhaps the most fun way to do it is to support alpine plants and your own education into them by becoming a member of our Society!

Members get exclusive access to an exciting programme of alpine-themed events, online and offline flower shows, our jam-packed print journal and newsletter, 20% discount off our specialist alpine plant books, and much more!

Find out more on our membership options page.

Join our Society!

Support alpine plants & your own education by becoming a member today! From £36.

find out more