Dr Norman Moore – a hero for hedgerows

Dr Norman Moore – a hero for hedgerows

As we continue to call on your support for our hedgerows #40by50 campaign (see https://www.cpre.org.uk/what-we-care-about/nature-and-landscapes/hedgerows/ for more information) we wanted to share and celebrate the achievements of Dr Norman Moore, whose pioneering work at his home-based hedgerow and woodland ecology laboratory near Swavesey helped us all understand the importance of hedgerows to the environment. 

Described by The Independent as one of the most influential figures in nature conservation in the second half of the 20th century, Dr Norman Moore was one of the most influential and successful conservationists in the UK and the world.  He was a pre-eminent natural scientist who led post-war research on habitat loss, the ecological effects of pesticides and the role of government in the protection of the natural world.  

His many achievements included:

* the protection of globally rare lowland heathland;

* pioneering work on the ecological significance of hedges;

* establishing the link between persistent pesticides and wildlife mortality;

* leading the creation of the modern regime of Sites of Special Scientific Interest;

* achieving world status in the understanding of the ecology of dragonflies.

He published two key books which set out his experience and the development of his thinking: The Bird of Time [CUP, 1987] and Oaks, Dragonflies and People, [Harley, 2002].

He was Chairman of Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve Management Committee for many years and oversaw much of the work to ensure its long-term survival as a wetland habitat. He founded the former Monks Wood Research Station, established the link between wildlife mortality and persistent organochlorine pesticides before ‘Silent Spring’ was published and was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Nature Conservancy Council when he retired in 1983. He was a Visiting Professor at Wye College.

Dr Moore created an outdoor laboratory at Boxworth End on the edge of Swavesey. It included both woodland and wetland on which he made meticulous records for over half a century.  It stood as a testament to his leading role throughout the post-war era and the importance of long-term vision for our environment.