Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Scottish Land & Estates - Spring Conference - 25 May 2016

Scottish Land & Estates has announced details of their Spring Conference, which will be held in The Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh on 25 May 2016.

This conference offers delegates a unique opportunity to engage with Scottish landowners, representatives of land based business, rural professionals, politicians, policy decision makers and academics. The conference is designed to stimulate debate, introduce new ideas and approaches, explore challenges and identify potential solutions.

For more details about the conference and how to apply for a place, see the SL&E website.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Wildfire Warning for Southern Scotland

As a result of the dry weather conditions and the dry condition of the vegetation, the Scottish Fire & Rescue Servce and the Scottish Wildfire Forum have issued a Wildfire Warning.  The areas at most risk are in SW Scotland and across the Southern Uplands.

There have been some wildfire incidents in these areas in the last few days and and landowners and managers are asked to take care.  Full details of the Wildfire Warning are available to download.

Michael Bruce, the Vice chairman of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, monitors the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) and he said, "at the end of winter, before plants start growing in the spring, there is often a lot of dead vegetation from last year. This fuel can dry out quickly when there are bright sunny days and frosts overnight with low levels of humidity. We have a high pressure weather system dominating the UK creating these conditions at the moment."

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: landusestrategy@gov.scot