Monday, 2 November 2009

Scotland's Moorland Forum Meeting

Last week was a busy week as we geared up for one of the three annual meetings of the full Forum on Friday.  It is always difficult to strike the right balance between providing challenging presentations and discussion for the representatives of the 30 member organisations while also keeping the governance of the Forum going.  We ended up with 3 presentations:  Habitat Trends from the Countryside Survey 2007 (Ed Mackey, SNH); the Hen Harrier Conservation Framework document (Prof Des Thompson, SNH) and Carbon Storage in UK Peatlands (Dr Fred Worrall, Durham University).  Highlights: Bracken is expanding, heather is contracting in Scotland; SNH is worried about the effects of a lack of prey on Hen harrier populations as well as about persecution; blocking of grips is bad for greenhouse gas emissions (due to the release of methane), but good for keeping peat and its carbon on the hill.

We had allocated 40+ mins for governance issues but I was pleased to note that this was squeezed into little over 15mins by more interesting discussion and everyone appeared to be happy to rely on the paperwork that I had circulated in advance of the meeting - the benefit of the 5Ps (prior planning preventing poor performance).

I welcome the input from such a diverse range of organisations to these meetings.  We do not all agree, and it is not all sweetness and light, but it remains an effective way to build consensus.

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