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Taking a lead on moorland collaboration in the Cairngorms

9th December 2014

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) wants to see more collaboration to ensure greater diversity of habitats in the uplands of the Park providing greater benefits for a range of species.

Encouraging more integration to deliver long-term, landscape scale conservation across uplands in the Park is what the Board of the CNPA are being asked to endorse this week at their meeting in Boat of Garten (Friday 12 December).

Hamish Trench, the CNPA’s Director of Conservation & Visitor Experience said: “Managed moorlands in the Cairngorms National Park cover almost 45 per cent of the Park’s land cover and estates make up nine per cent of the total employment in the Park so moorland management is clearly important to delivering conservation, visitor experience and rural development in the Park.

“Over recent years though, there has been an increase in management techniques designed to maximise production of red grouse for sport with concerns expressed about their integration with wider land use objectives. We want to work with land managers to explore how to deliver greater diversity of habitat and species benefits.”

Some of the opportunities being highlighted include increasing woodland connectivity, peatland restoration, addressing impacts of fencing and hill tracks, muirburn and raptor conservation. Collaboration on a landscape scale is needed to deliver these benefits, recognising the need for economic viability to underpin land management.

The CNPA is already supporting the Wildlife Estates Scotland initiative. The Board will this week consider building on this further with land managers to collaborate on delivering conservation gain across a number of land holdings.

Hamish Trench added: “Cumulatively, the way moorlands are managed here has a huge influence on the nature and landscape of the National Park. Open moorlands are an integral part of the Cairngorms landscape and we have an opportunity to collaborate more on bringing together land management business objectives with opportunities for conservation gain.”

Read the board paper in full.