Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Heather Trust's Annual Report

The Trust has published the 2017 Annual Report and printed copies have been sent to all members and some other people with influence in the UK moorlands and uplands.

The report contains our usual slightly eclectic mix of updates about the work of the Trust, articles by team members and a range of guest articles.  With a view to spreading the word about our activities, we would be pleased to hear from members  with suggestions of people who should receive a copy.  We are also able to circulate an electronic copy of the Report as a PDF.

We will be placing the Report on the Trust's website, after the AGM, which this year is being held in Aberdeenshire on 5 October.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Countryside Alliance on Grouse Shooting

As one of the latest in the exchanges about grouse shooting, prior to the start of the grouse shooting season tomorrow, I was interested to read Countryside Alliance's view, as expressed by Adrian Blackmore, the Director of Shooting.  He makes some interesting points including:
  • The large losses of moorland since the 19th century in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, whereas in the UK we have the interest in grouse shooting to thank for helping to keep our large areas of heather moorland intact - 75% of the total international area. 
  • 44,500 acres of heather moorland on land managed for grouse have been repaired and revegetated across the North of England.

These details are something for the grouse moor community to be very proud of, and I recommend a read of the article, which contains a link to the CA briefing on "The Value of Grouse Moor Management".

Scotland: Peatland Restoration

Does your peatland look like this?

There is £8 million available for peatland restoration across Scotland through the Peatland Action initiative. Applications for grant funding are open until 31 October 2017 and projects must be completed by 28 February 2018.

Go to the Peatland ACTION webpage for more information about how to apply and the grants available.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

England: Grouse moors and conservation bodies join forces

Therese Coffey, MP at Wemmergill
flanked by Richard Johnson (Director)(L) and John Pinkney (Headkeeper)(R).
Photo: Dave Mitchell, Natural England
The Moorland Association reports on the new 25-year agreement between Natural England and the Wemmergill Estate, in Co Durham, which amongst other objectives, seeks to develop and maintain a fully functioning blanket bog system.

Dr Therese Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at DEFRA, and Dr Rob Stoneman, Co-Chair of IUCN UK Peatland Programme, have visited the estate and both are very supportive of this work.

This agreement is being supported by the Trust's work with Natural England to promote their Outcomes Approach and as Chairman of the Uplands Management Group, which is developing guidance for managing sphagnum mosses, a key component of blanket bog, through a task & finish group led by Amanda Anderson, The Director of the Moorland Association.

Wildfires in Greenland

If wildfires can occur in Greenland, within 70km of the ice sheet, then surely they can happen anywhere.

The fires are thought to be burning peat deposits, which is something that the Trust seeks to avoid through our work with the Wildfire Forums in England, Wales & Scotland and in revising the Muirburn Code for Scotland.

Burning peat destroys the sensitive peatland vegetation to leave bare ground that erodes quickly.  Burning peat releases large amounts of greenhouse gases that had been stored as carbon in the peat, and these gases are drivers for climate change.

See the full report on BBC News.