Sunday, 16 June 2013

CBE for Bob McIntosh

Congratulations to Bob McIntosh, Director of Environment & Forestry, on his CBE in the Birthday Honours list.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Forest Enterprise Scotland: Open Land Workshop

Blocked drain on Eldrick Hill, Galloway Forest Park
Representatives of the Moorland Forum attended a workshop with members of staff from Forest Enterprise Scotland in the Galloway Forest Park on 11 June. This workshop was organised by FES and forms part of the commissioned work that the Forum is developing.

The Galloway Forest Park has an area of 25,000 ha of open land within its boundaries. The aim of the workshop was to consider the management of two areas of open land, and for the Forum representatives to provide their views on the current management and how it might be improved. The main topics for discussion were the restoration of the peatland and the use of grazing as a management tool.

The timing of the workshop was unfortunate, as we were met by wet conditions that followed a period of warm, dry weather.  However, this did not affect the enthusiasm for the workshop and it certainly did not detract from the amount of discussion.

The output from the workshop will be a short report from the Forum providing some advice about future management of the areas and the monitoring of change.  The initial report will be developed, with input from FES staff and other members of the Forum, into a form that will be presented to the FES Board.

The range of issues that were raised by the Forum representatives proved the value of this approach.  I hope that it will be the start of a longer term relationship with FES and that we will be able to consider other sites in the future.  In the meantime, it is back to writing the report drawing conclusions from the very animated discussions that took place, yesterday, and I believe that this will be of great value to FES as they review their management of the two areas we inspected.

My thanks to FES for commissioning this work from the Forum and for the enthusiasm of the representatives who attended and contributed to the meeting, yesterday.

The following people attended the workshop:

Moorland Forum;
Clifton Bain
Chris Rollie
Lenka Sukenikova
Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere
Mary-Ann Smyth
Crichton Carbon Centre
Dick Birnie
Landform Research
Graham Sullivan
Tony Waterhouse
Simon Thorp
Moorland Forum

Forestry Commission
Rob Soutar
Forest District Manager, Galloway Forest District
Jeff Waddell
Open Habitat Ecologist
Colin Hossack
Planning, Galloway Forest District
Russell Anderson
Forest Research
Andrew Jarrott
Environment, Galloway Forest District

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Moorland Forum Summer Meeting

We had an excellent meeting on Friday, 7 June.  The John Muir Trust were our hosts at their new Wild Space Visitor Centre in the centre of Pitlochry.  After a business meeting, Roger Burton from SNH described his work as the manager of the Wildlife Management programme within SNH.  Mike Daniels then provided an introduction to the JMT and specifically to the management of Schiehallion.  The weather gods smiled on us for the visit to Schiehallion that followed, where this photo was taken.  We chewed over several management issues that JMT set for us to consider and, as with all Moorland Forum meetings, there was no shortage of discussion.

My thanks to JMT for hosting the meeting and for organising the Schiehallion visit, and to those Forum members who attended.

Knowledge for Wildfire

This is an important project that covers the UK.  I am supporting this work through The Heather Trust and more detail can be found on the HT blog.  Of special note is the summary of some of the wildfire incidents that took place in the NW in April.  A great resource that we should be making better use of.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Predation-Prey Associations workshop - 4 June

I attended a workshop in Dunkeld, yesterday, that considered Predation-Prey Associations.  It was organised by SNH mainly for their staff, but several members of the Forum were invited to attend.  It was an interesting discussion.  There may be a role for the Forum in facilitating the review of the Predatory Birds Report[1] that the Forum commissioned from BTO in 2005.  This might be an opportunity for the Forum as a whole to satisfy its aspiration to contribute further to the predation debate.

A proposal is under discussion with Scottish Government & SNH about how this might work.  In addition to facilitating the review, I would like to see the Forum commissioned to capture local experience to supplement the scientific evidence and also develop consensus about the interpretation of the revised report.  What does it mean; how can be used to best effect?

An interesting discussion took place about how the interpretation could be communicated to a broad audience and the subject of demonstration events was raised.  I have expended on this idea in a more general post on the Heather Trust Blog.

[1] Park, K.J, Calladine, J. R, Graham, K.E, Stephenson, C.M, & Wernham, C.V. 2005.  The Impacts of Predatory Birds on Waders, songbirds, Gamebirds and Fisheries Interests.  A report by the Centre for Conservation Science for Scotland’s Moorland Forum.