Monday, 31 October 2016

The Principles of Moorland Management Project - update

The Principles of Moorland Management (PoMM) project is producing guidance for practitioners to cover a range of moorland management activity.  Small guidance groups have been established to draft the guidance, which will then be passed to members of the project steering group for comment. When approved by the Steering Group, Forum members will be invited to comment before the guidance is published on the Forum's website.  

The guidance will provide links to other related information, and it will be updated on a regular basis to take account of changes to techniques, regulations or other factors.

Further details about the project are available from the project page on the Moorland Forum's website.

Guidance in Production

Three Guidance Groups have been formed, and have been making progress. The topics covered are: Worm Control in Grouse, Heather Cutting and Mountain Hare.

I expect to have draft versions of the guidance for all three groups by mid-November.

Next Steps
The guidance will cover a wide range of topics and it is likely that the process to be followed before the guidance is published will vary between the different topics.  The starting point will be the following process:
  • The guidance will be circulated to the PoMM Steering Group (see below).
  • Feedback will be collated and passed to the Guidance Group for comment and/or amendment of the draft.
  • When approved by the Steering Group, the guidance will be passed to all Forum members for comment.
  • The guidance will then be published on the Forum’s website.
The next stages for the three topics in progress will provide a demonstration of this process in action.

Purpose of the Guidance

The guidance aims to provide a source of information that practitioners can turn to when deciding how they should carry out an approved management activity. Some guidance may also include issues that practitioners should take into account when deciding whether or not a management activity is appropriate in their circumstances.

The aim is to provide a one-stop-shop for the latest guidance on different moorland management activity; the guidance will link to other information and will not repeat details that are already available elsewhere. It will be important that once published it is kept up to date.

Next Topics

With the three guidance groups about to publish their drafts, it is time to consider the next topics that PoMM should address.

In earlier discussion, the Steering Group considered three options:
  • Bracken Control,
  • Snaring, and
  • Sphagnum Moss regeneration (as part of peatland restoration).
Other suggestions will be welcome, and the options will be raised for discussion at the Forum meeting, on 4 November. The Steering Group will then be asked for their views on all the options so that a decision can be made about forming more Guidance Groups.

Steering Group members

Tim Baynes - Scottish Land & Estates
John Bruce - British Deer Society
Ronnie Kippen - Scottish Gamekeepers Association
Alastair MacGugan - SNH
Duncan Orr-Ewing - RSPB Scotland
Colin Shedden - BASC
Adam Smith - GWCT
Julia Stoddart - SACS
Dr. Tony Waterhouse - SRUC
Malcolm Younger - RICS

Understanding Predation - Legacy Project - Update

The concept for what might follow this project is being developed.  A significant step forward has been the support for the concept offered by Roseanna Cunningham, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform.

We are in the discussion phase that the Moorland Forum was asked to facilitate during the final Understanding Predation seminar, which took place on 3 May 2016.  We are seeking to encourage discussion from all with an interest in the issues and to facilitate the development of a programme of action.  

The suggestion is that the follow-on work should maintain a focus on moorland waders.  The scientific research and stakeholder knowledge reveiwed as part of the Understanding Predation project agreed that the populations of these birds are in steep decline.  

Managing for Wader Recovery Across Scotland has been proposed as the title for the follow on work.

It is likely that this programme will address the issues in two stages: a scoping stage, which will collate different opinions and establish what initiatives are already in progress or planned, and it will guide the development of a second stage, which will support action on the ground and take the debate about the issues further.  In acknowledgement of the concerns about the rapid decline in wader populations, it is possible that the two stages will overlap.

A discussion document will be reviewed during the Forum meeting on 4th November, and more information may come as a result of this.

Volunteers to enter the discussion and/or help with the scoping phase and delivery of the programmes of action will be welcome.

Muirburn Code Review - update

For an update on the progress of the review of the Muirburn Code 
see the post on the