Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Wildfire Warning for Scotland


The Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWF) is raising awareness about the increased risk of wildfire across most parts of Scotland over the next few days as weather forecasters predict very dry conditions.

Vice Chairman of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, Michael Bruce, monitors the European Commission’s European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) which provides information, which can be used to inform the public about the risk of wildfire.

He said: “At the start of spring there is often a lot of dead vegetation leftover from last year. This fuel can dry out quickly when there are bright sunny days with high temperatures and low humidity levels. We have a high pressure weather system dominating Scotland creating these conditions at the moment.”

We are now well into that time of year when the risk of wildfire is at its highest and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is already working closely with land managers and appealing to tourists and communities to help reduce the number fires in a bid to protect the countryside and its residents.

On Saturday, SFRS crews tackled a wildfire which involved a large area of heathland a mile long being fanned by strong winds near the village of Carsphairn in rural Dumfries and Galloway.

SFRS Deputy Assistant Chief Officer, Andy Coueslant, the chairman of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, said raising awareness is key to reducing the risk.

He explained: “We have a forecast of settled dry, warm and at times windy conditions over the next week. We therefore ask people to be vigilant and act responsibly, while this period of weather affects the country.

“Many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires, which can cause significant environmental and economic damage.

“Livestock, farmland, wildlife, protected woodland and sites of special scientific interest can all be devastated by these fires, as can the lives of people living and working in rural communities.

“Human behaviour can significantly lower the chance of a wildfire starting so it’s crucial people act safely and responsibly in rural environments and follow the countryside code.”

The public can help prevent wildfires by making sure they dispose of litter and smoking materials carefully while in rural areas. Land managers are reminded that the legal period for Muirburn ended on 30 April.

For further advice and information about wildfires and what we can all do to prevent them visit our website www.firescotland.gov.uk

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.