AN Island farmer’s efforts to help wildlife have been highly commended by the RSPB.
Michael Poland, of Wroxall Cross Farm, Ventnor, received the accolade at this year’s RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming awards, in recognition of the exceptional conservation work he has done on his farm for birds and other wildlife.
Wroxhall Cross is home to a wide variety of well-established habitats, which attract and support a wide diversity of species.
Mr Poland said: "We have also been able to create new habitats, such as hedgerows and woodland, which link, buffer and extend those existing areas — making it a fantastic site for all manner of wildlife."
The 400 hectare beef farm consists of predominantly lowland grassland, which is managed through the traditional method of grazing and cutting for hay at the end of the summer.
The farm also boasts 70 hectares of woodland, which is home to rare bats, dormice and red squirrels.
Mr Poland works with wildlife groups to carry out surveys on the bats, invertebrates, birds, red squirrels, trees and plants found at the farm.
His conservation work is supported by agri-environment schemes, which provide funding to farmers to protect wildlife on their farms.
Bruce Fowkes, farmland conservation advisor for the RSPB South East, said: "Mr Poland is doing valuable work on his farm for species that are in real trouble.
"He and many other land managers depend on agri-environment schemes in order to balance food production with wildlife protection, so the recently proposed reductions in the EU budget for wildlife-friendly farming are worrying."