Monday, 2 March 2015

Members’ Briefing - Heather Management

I have been aware of a shift in the balance between heather management by burning and cutting in recent years, and I believe that the amount of management taking place by cutting is increasing. On some moors managers have gone the whole hog and have started to manage their heather by cutting only. The decision not to burn may have been taken for a range of reasons, such as water catchment restrictions, concerns about damage to peatland, lack of manpower or even personal preference.

As a result of this change, I thought it was more than appropriate that we carried out a review of some of the developments in thinking from a Heather Trust standpoint. Patrick Laurie has been working on this for two years and has been to visit many areas where this new thinking is developing. He has collected a large amount of information and we have decided to start publishing this.

The first step is a Members’ Briefing, which is now available from the Reading Room on the HT website. Although it is called a Members’ Briefing, we make this available to everyone and hope that anyone who is not already a member will take the appropriate action if they value the information this briefing contains.

There is much more to be done on this subject and Patrick and I will be working on this.  We will publish more information from time to time.

It is clear that many people feel passionate about their heather management, and we accept that our briefing may challenge some sensitivities. However, before anyone accuses us of going over to the dark side, you should note that we start the Members Briefing with a statement in support of heather burning, but we are keen to explore all the ways to manage heather to make sure that we use the available tools, to the best advantage.

If you agree, or disagree, with our thinking, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please use the comment box below.

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