Scotland’s Moorland Forum has established a novel project named “Upland Solutions”, which seeks to gain the views of people with experience of upland sporting management in two study areas.

The forum was established in 2002 to provide an opportunity for a range of organisations to come together to consider issues that affect the management and future of Scotland’s iconic moorland and upland areas. Twenty-four organisations founded the forum and membership has since expanded to 30.

The forum is dedicated to understanding the challenges that face Scotland’s moorland and upland areas, as well as to identifying and enabling solutions. The future viability of these areas is critical to the delivery of key economic, social, cultural, environmental and ecosystem benefits. In addition to the backing of the forum’s 30 member organisations, we have particular support for the Upland Solutions project from the minister for environment and other key stakeholders. Focusing on two study areas, namely the region surrounding Muirkirk and the Upper Findhorn Catchment, southwest of Tomatin, the project will obtain the views of landowners, land managers, communities and other interests about the management of their upland areas.

The project will cover three themes: upland economics, upland birds and carbon. It will identify practical problems and, more importantly, practical solutions at ground level. The project will also aim to identify and understand where there are blockages (for example, institutional or regulatory) to what would otherwise be practical solutions.

At workshops in each area members of the forum will listen to and discuss the day-to-day problems faced by the people managing the two study areas. Experience of solutions to similar problems that have worked in other areas will be explored to see if they can be applied in the study areas. Ultimately this project is focused on identifying practical solutions to practical problems. Our findings will therefore be disseminated to other landowners,land managers, local communities and the public agencies. Where we identify solutions that are frustrated by institutional or regulatory obstacles, these will be taken up with the relevant minister, officials and agencies.

The Upland Solutions project will also provide the forum with a first-hand understanding of issues that we will present in a report to the minister for environment and use to inform an upland strategy that we plan to develop during the year. A workshop will be held in the Muirkirk area on 25 February and this will be followed by one at Tomatin on 4 March. A flyer, which includes an application form, can be downloaded from the forum’s website at www.moorlandforum.org.uk or by contacting Alison Young at info@moorlandforum.org.uk, or tel 01387 723201.

I hope that this project will help to make a difference, but we cannot do this without the support of the shooting community in the study areas. People in or near the two study areas are encouraged to attend to have their views heard.

Have your say: if you have a view on a current news topic, send it, in no more than 500 words, to selena_masson@ipcmedia.com.

Have your say: if you have a view on a current news topic,send it, in no more than 500 words, to selena_masson@ipcmedia.com.

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