Monday, 21 March 2011

England: Farming in the Uplands - EFRA Report

I mentioned the launch of the Select Committee report in my post on 17 February, but I would like to draw your attention to the extract below, taken from page 73, and the highlighted sentence.  Is this really what EFRA believes?  What about all the burning, or swaling, that takes place on the south west moors?   I would be very surprised if burning for agricultural purposes was so insignificant it could be dismissed.  I hope that this is an aberration and that our policy makers have a clear overview of how our moors are managed.  If not, I look forward to a call (and perhaps some consultancy work!).

32. Burning is used on heather moorland and acid grasslands and can be successful in promoting heather regeneration. However, if done on too wide a scale or too frequently it can negatively impact upon some species and other ecosystem services such as soil carbon storage and water quality. Burning can also favour some species to the detriment of others. It can also lead to an increase in water pollution through run-off of sediment. Burning on peatland13 has been used (mostly in Scotland) as a means of improving vegetation for sheep grazing. In England burning of peatland is almost exclusively limited to managing the moorland for grouse. Because of the complexity of burning, localised approaches drawing on sound evidence and expert advice are very important.

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