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

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