Saturday, 28 July 2012

Wildfire - increasing health risk?

The Health Protection Agency has the following information on its website.  

Wildfires are becoming an increasing problem globally, including in the UK. Human health can be adversely affected by wildfires in many ways. Respiratory morbidity predominates from exposure to wildfire smoke, but cardiovascular, ophthalmic and thermal injury, as well as psychological problems can result. Climate change is likely to lead in an increase in wildfire incidence.

There were over 58,000 wildfires in Great Britain in 2010/11.  The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) 2012 has cited wildfires amongst the top seven risks to the natural environment in England.  A 30% to 50% increase in wildfires by the 2080s is predicted.

It is good to see that the HPA is taking the issue seriously - it would be good if other parts of government would follow their lead.

The Black Grouse - by Patrick Laurie

Patrick has written a lively natural history that is interwoven with his account of his on-going battle to reintroduce black grouse on his farm in Dumfries & Galloway.  His beautiful illustrations convey his passion for these vulnerable birds, so full of character, from their aggressive lekking behaviour to their desperate struggle to survive against nearly-impossible odds in modern Britain.

This book is available from bookshops, or from Merlin Unwin Books – Tel: 01584 877456 or  Price £20 + p&p.

Patrick Laurie writes regularly for Shooting Gazette and produces a Monthly Perspective on The Heather Trust’s activity that is published on the Trust’s website.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Radical rethink on land reform underway

The Scottish Government has announced a radical review of land reform that will be carried out by a new Land Reform Review Group. This is a manifesto commitment.  It is likely that the Group will report to the Government by the end of 2013.

The announcement also mentioned the publication of research paper: Overview of Evidence on Land Reform in Scotland.  A new Scottish Land Fund is now open for applications.  The BBC also issued a News Release on this topic.

Wales: Upland research to continue at Pwllpeiran

The research farm at Pwllpeiran is to be retained and transferred to Aberystwyth University.  This has been a source of research on upland grazing management in the past and I hope this will continue.

The news release also makes reference to the establishment of Knowledge Exchange Centre for upland land use.  This could have wider relevance and link to similar proposals in other parts of the UK.

Wales: Single Body gains Legal Status

A single body to maintain, enhance and manage the sustainable use of Wales’ natural resources now has legal status following a debate in the National Assembly.  The single body will replace the  Environment Agency Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission for Wales from 1 April 2013.  More info.

What will it be called?

Friday, 20 July 2012

Peatland Conference: research in the Flow Country

This conference is being held in Thurso 23-25 October.  For further information see the website.  

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Scotland’s first UNESCO Biosphere

Photo: National Rural Network
Galloway and Southern Ayrshire has recently achieved international status as Scotland’s first UNESCO Biosphere and will now become part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which includes 598 Biospheres in 117 countries.  

For more details see the report published by the Scottish National Rural Network and the Biosphere website.

Irish Peat Problems

Photo: James Flynn, Irish Times
See the  post on the Moorland Forum's Blog about a report that quantifies the benefits of peatland restoration in Ireland. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Withdrawal of Medicated Grouse Grit

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust has issued a reminder to grouse moor owners to withdraw medicated grit by 16 July, to provide an adequate withdrawal period to prevent the medication entering the food chain at the start of the grouse shooting season, on 13th August, this year.

This reminder was published in the latest newsletter from the Scottish Moorland Group.  The full newsletter is available to download.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The campaign for asulam in the Farmers Guardian

Photo: Farmer's Guardian
See the two articles published in the Farmer's Guardian for a view about the campaign to maintain a supply of asulam products for bracken control:

Non-food crops herbicide derogation campaign (6 July)

Rethink strategies to control weed threat (8 July)