Saturday, 31 October 2015

Moorland Forum meeting - 30 October

We had a good turnout for the meeting yesterday; thank you to all those who attended.  Here is a snap shot of the discussion.

Rural Skills and Careers was the lead topic and, with the very valuable input from the Scottish Countryside Alliance, Scottish Land & Estates, Lantra Scotland and the Cairngorms National Park, we had a very good discussions of the issues.  The key question was, "Can the Forum add value to the initiatives that are already in place?" This is a big topic and not surprisingly we did not reach any conclusions, but we agreed that the Forum would organise a meeting to discuss the options in more depth and we will invite other key players, for example the colleges, to attend.

BTO provided an update on the progress of the Understanding Predation project.  The first of three review seminars was held on Tuesday, 27 October, and this had gone very well (see the report on the UP blog).  A striking issue from the seminar had been the diversity of the people who had attended and their willingness to engage in discussion.  The briefing that has been produced for delegates attending the seminar is recommended reading.

We considered the other ongoing and planned work.  I received the invitation to tender for the review of the Muirburn Code on Thursday morning, 29 October, and I will be asking for support with providing the response to the tender.

We discussed the Sustainable Moorland Management Review that had recommended the involvement of the Forum.  Lord Lindsay will write to the Minister for Environment to express the Forum's willingness to support this work, covering: the production of a Moorland Vision and a strategy to deliver it; and the design and delivery of large-scale and long-term experiments to support the  understanding of moorland ecosystem health.

The Forum supported the suggestion that the summer meeting should take us north and west of the Great Glen.  A proposal to visit the Sleat peninsula on Skye was put forward, but other suggestions will be welcome.

A draft of the Annual Progress Report had been circulated and I am keen to get any comments on the text.  I will be working on the presentation of this to provide a bit more impact and move on from the rather predictable presentation.

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