Why picking up dog poo is good for people, nature and wildlife

Heathlands, grasslands, beautiful wildflower meadows amongst other habitats all have one thing in common, they are low nutrient habitats. The plants that grow there are reliant on the low nutrient soil. Unlike horses and cows that only consume what is growing on the site, removing nutrients as they graze, dogs are fed a diet jam packed with nutrients and vitamins. Once deposited the nutrients leech out into the soil. This in essence is similar to fertilising your garden, you add fertilisers and compost to encourage vigorous growth, the complete opposite of what plants dependant on low nutrient habitat need. Heather has been replaced by vigorous growing grasses and brambles which quickly outcompete slower growing species like heather. Brambles are great nurseries for trees, protecting them during their sapling stages from grazing. Over time the heath turns to scrub.

Maintaining heathland is a fine balance. This nature rich habitat is home to specialist bird species like nightjars and Dartford warblers that have adapted and evolved to exist on heathland. We have to look after the few fragments of heathland that still remain.

So please always pick up after your dog, it’s not only a legal requirement but also essential for keeping our nature reserves healthy and clean.