Monday, 30 March 2015

Livestock grazing ‘vital’ to preserve uplands

Hill Farm, Arkengarthdale - Yorkshire Post
This may be another case of science being used to re-state the blindingly obvious, but all the same it helps to have the concept of the dependence of the uplands on grazing management restated.  The Yorkshire Post article provides a description of the work carried out over 10 years by researchers from the Universities of Hull and Aberdeen and the James Hutton Institute.

The article acknowledges that "these unique habitats have evolved as a result of traditional farming practices and abandoning such areas would have a huge impact on the internationally important plants and animals that live there."  It is comforting that this research applies common sense and avoids the trap of falling into the arms of the re-wilding lobby, which promotes the view that nature is best left to look after itself.  I think there is a need to be careful what you wish for; the natural balance without management is likely to look very different.

Management has shaped our hills, moorlands and uplands and therefore the owners and managers have an input into how these areas look and the services they provide.  I agree with the view that mixed livestock grazing at the right intensity is vital for the correct management and preservation of our uplands.

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