Thursday, 31 March 2016

Land Reform (Scotland) Bill - Summary

Photo: CKD Galbraith
I recommend that anyone seeking easy-access to the key areas addressed by the Bill should read the summary published by CKD Galbraith.

Langholm Moor Demonstration Project - completion plan

This 10-year project completes in October 2017. The project is set up as a company and it is run by a Board of Directors, which met, last week, to discuss how the project is to be managed between now and completion. This follows the sad resignation of the Headkeeper, Simon Lester, earlier this month, and other reductions in the gamekeeping team.

See the news item on the Project's website for details of the plan that has been announced.

The Directors have acknowledged that the Project is not going to meet all the targets that were set for it. However, there have been many successes and I welcome the plan to write up properly all the work that has been completed so that the moorland management community can get full value from the project. Inevitably, there will be criticism that all the targets will not be achieved, but this should not be seen as failure. Targets are always going to be at risk when dealing with natural systems that cannot be tightly controlled, and the final report from the Project will need to balance the successes against the challenges that still remain to be answered.

Will there be an appetite for a Langholm 3 project?

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Regional Workshops - wild deer research and delivery of sustainable deer management in Scotland

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the Centre for Mountain Studies (UHI) are conducting a review for the Scottish Government of existing research on wild deer management. The aim is to identify gaps in the existing knowledge-base through gathering the views of stakeholders and reviewing existing material.

For full details of the workshops, see the flyer.
(if you cannot access the Dropbox link, please advise so that I can send you a copy of the flyer by e-mail)

Environmental impacts of driven grouse shooting

Photo: Patrick Laurie
See the post on the Understanding Predation project blog about the new paper published by the RSPB and its relevance to the project.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Land Use Strategy 2016 - 2021

Getting the best from our land: A Land Use Strategy for Scotland 2016 – 2021 is published today and is available on the Scottish Government website

‘Getting the best from our land’ is Scotland’s second land use strategy and comes at a time when focus on the way we use land is stronger than ever. The recently passed Land Reform (Scotland) Bill and Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act have paved the way for this revised strategy, which sets out the importance of: 
  • Management of natural resources with an ecosystems approach to land use
  • Partnership activity to bring a range of interests together to consider land use at a local level in both rural and urban areas
  • Developing and implementing activities to promote climate friendly farming and crofting
  • The relationship between ownership, use and management of land
  • Continuing to explore the potential of catchment based approaches for managing land
A full press release is available and any questions relating to the Land Use Strategy should be directed to the Land Use and Biodiversity Team - e-mail:

Monday, 14 March 2016

Wildfire 2015 - conference presentations available

Prevention Better than Cure
November 2015

The presentations from last year's wildfire conference are now available to download.  

The actions and lessons learned during the conference will provide a focus for the work of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, this year, and work will soon need to start to prepare for the next conference, which is likely to be held in 2017.

With the weather set fair this week, there is a good chance for muirburn plans to be put into action.  Even after all the wet weather of the winter, the vegetation can dry very quickly at this time of year and I urge care so that we do not end up with a spate of wildfires.