Thursday, 19 December 2013

IUCN Newsletter Nov/Dec 2013

The IUCN UK Peatland programme has published their latest Newsletter.  I am supporting the IUCN UK PP work which is leading the development of the Peatland Code.  The aim of this work is to set out how peatland can be maintained and restored and it might unlock funding for this through carbon trading.

The work has close connections to the Green Stimulus Peatland Restoration Project, which I am a member of the Steering Group for.

Scotland’s Soils website launched

See the article on the SG website, and the Soils Website

I have been hoping to organise a soils briefing for Forum member's for some time.  I believe that we do not take enough account of what is under our feet and the effect it has on drainage, surface vegetation and productive capacity.  If you are like me, a knowledge of soils will not have been included in your education and I would like to address this.

With the increasing interest in peatland, we are getting better at thinking about some of the issues, but we need to transfer this interest to all the other soil types.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Species Interactions - Planning Meeting

The planning meeting agreed at the Forum meeting on 8th November has now been fixed to take place on 17th January at a location to be decided in or near Perth.

I have kept 'close' to the original intention to achieve a small but representative sample of Forum members at this meeting.  Many thanks to those who volunteered their services and have not been invited to attend.  I hope everyone can appreciate the benefits of working with a small group.

In agreeing the contributors to the planning meeting, I considered volunteers and then I rather arbitrarily split the Forum members into categories to make sure that there was a reasonable representation across the Forum.  You can see how I approached this below.  The obvious gap is the SEARS / Agency category.  I have taken the view that several of the SEARS organisations have had an input into the preparation of the SNH proposals  and therefore representation at the meeting was not required.

I am ready and willing to receive any howls of protest.  No views will be excluded and there will be plenty of opportunity, and even an expectation, for comment as the process is developed.  After the meeting in January, further ideas will be exchanged with SNH with a view to having revised proposals for Forum members to consider and discuss at the Chairman's Working Group and Forum meetings on 7th & 28th February respectively.

Moorland Forum - Membership Breakdown


John Muir Trust

National Trust for Scotland

RSPB Scotland

Scottish Raptor Study Groups

Scottish Wildife Trust



Association for Deer Management Groups

BASC Scotland

British Deer Society


Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Game Conservancy Scottish Research Trustees


RICS / Islesman Ltd

Scottish Association for Country Sports

Scottish Countryside Alliance

Scottish Land & Estates

Scottish Land & Estates Moorland Group



BTO Scotland

James Hutton Institute

Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)


Cairngorms National Park Authority

Crofting Commission

Forestry Commission Scotland

Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority

Rural Directorate

Scottish Renewables

Scottish Water



Steve Redpath

Simon Thorp

Total attending

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Update for Members

Langholm - November 2013
SNH Sharing Good Practice events

Following a meeting at Battleby, last Friday, the aim is now to work up more detailed proposals for  events to cover hill tracks and peatland restoration.

The hill tracks events will be developed in conjunction with SL&E and SNH.

The peatland events will link to the Green Stimulus Peatland Restoration Project and will help to deliver this project, as well as raising awareness about peatland restoration issues.

Moorland Management Best Practice Guidance

As an extension of the Sharing Good Practice work, discussions are taking place about developing best practice guidance for moorland management.  Long servers on the Forum will recognise that this would be a development of the 'Principles of Moorland Management' that the Forum published in 2003.

A possible process is that the Forum might prepare draft guidance and then road test this through events with stakeholders, and these events might cover one or several topics.

The plan at present is to develop an outline proposal for discussion at the Forum meeting that will be held in February 2014.  If agreed, the proposal would be worked up into something more detailed for discussion at the Summer meeting.

"Species Interactions"

My efforts to organise the planning meeting quickly have been frustrated by lack of availability and Friday, 17th January is now looking favourite.  It should still be possible to produce some sensible proposals in time for the next Chairman's Working Group and Forum meetings on 7th & 28th February, respectively.

Note that I have adopted Species Interactions as the working title for this work, in preference to Species Solutions, as I believe it to better represent what we are trying to achieve in this phase of the work. This can be subject to further change during the development phase.

Meetings with Scottish Government

Meeting with the Minister - January 2014.  Lord Lindsay hopes to meet the Minister for Environment, Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, to present the Annual Report to him and provide an update about the work of the Forum.

A meeting with Bob McIntosh, Director Environment & Forestry is being proposed for January or February.

Discussion are taking place about a meeting for the Forum with the Minister for Environment, Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, somewhere in the Borders, in June,

Moorland Forum Meeting - 8th November

I thought this was a very successful meeting.  I was grateful for the good turnout and the enthusiasm that was demonstrated during the discussion.  We covered a lot of ground during the meeting and this prompted me to publish a newsletter that contained the Highlights from the meeting.

The draft Minutes have now been published and are available to members of the Forum from the website.