A Critical Forest Art Practice. | Imagining Natural Scotland

Interesting to link with previous article on degeneration/regeneration of Highland landscapes.

The iconic Caledonian forest is a remnant ecosystem. Composed of vibrant living matter it has its own agency and significant generative and reproductive power. Culturally it is an idea lost in time that lacks presence and visibility today.


As part of their Imagining Natural Scotland project, Tim Collins and Reiko Goto’ s inquiry leads to a set of questions:

How do we contribute to thepotential for a tree or forest community to prosper in an age of environmental change?

Can we reveal empathic interrelationship between people and trees in urban and rural settings?

Can we work with others to embody ideas or experiences that effect or reshape the perception and normative value of extraordinary living things.

via 1. A Critical Forest Art Practice. | Imagining Natural Scotland.


Eroding the Mountains of Inertia

I highly recommend reading this article on Andy Wightman’s blog about the degraded state of our landscape and how vested interests and wilful political blindness stop the simplest of solutions to a perennial problem. Plant trees. Read the discussion in the comments section to get some more detailed science and opinion.

Eroding the Mountains of Inertia is a guest article by Ron Greer and Derek Pretswell. In light of the ongoing problems with landslips on the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful and further west in Glen Kinglas, Ron and Derek remind us that they were advocating substantial ecological restoration over 30 years ago. They pioneered, from first principles and scientific observations, an approach that would restore the ecology of much of Upland Scotland. But official Scotland and vested interests blocked their plans.

via Eroding the Mountains of Inertia | Land Matters.

Lairds, Land and Sustainability

From some folks at my past university research department, The Centre For Mountain Studies, a new publication that will inevitably spark some debate in relation to the current land reform discourse. I look forward to getting a copy at some point.

Lairds, Land and Sustainability – Scottish Perspectives on Upland Management. Edited By: Jayne Glass, Martin Price, Charles Warren and Alister Scott. Publication Date: Jul 2013

A wide-ranging study of how different landownership models deliver sustainability in Scotland’s upland areas

Scotland is at the heart of modern, sustainable upland management. Large estates cover vast areas of the uplands, with a long, complex and emotive history of ownership and use.

In recent decades, the Scottish uplands have increasingly been the arena for passionate debates over large-scale land management issues. Crucially, what kinds of ownership and management will best deliver sustainable futures for upland environments and communities?

Although the globally unique dominance of private ownership remains a distinctive characteristic of Scotland’s uplands, increasing numbers of estates are now owned by environmental NGOs and local communities, especially since the Land Reform (Scotland) Act of 2003.  A decade after the passage of this landmark Act, this book synthesises research carried out on a diverse range of upland estates by the Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands. The findings from privately-owned estates as well as those owned by communities, charities and conservation groups will prove enlightening and relevant to upland managers, policy makers, and researchers across Britain and Europe.

With the Scottish Government promoting a vision of environmental sustainability, and with the new diversity of ownerships and management now appearing, this timely and topical book investigates the implications of these different types of land ownership for sustainable upland management.

via Lairds, Land and Sustainability – Edinburgh University Press.

Mapping Scotland’s wildness – Scottish Natural Heritage

Updated information on mapping core wild land areas.

On 30th April 2013 the Scottish Government published its Main Issues Report on the National Planning Framework 3 and revised Scottish Planning Policy.  Question 2 of the NPF MIR is inviting views on the use of the our mapping work to identify areas which need to be protected.  In addition SPP question 17 is seeking views on the proposed approach to spatial frameworks, including the principle of affording significant protection to core wild land (as included in our map) from wind farm development unless any adverse effects can be substantially mitigated.  So that Scottish Government can best reflect on the merits of the policy approach and consider the next steps, they are also happy to receive comments on the map itself who will forward any such comments to ourselves for our information.  Full details of the consultation and how to submit your comments can be found on the Scottish Government’s website  .

The new map of areas of wild land character can be viewed here: Mapping Scotland’s wildness – Scottish Natural Heritage.

Preparing a new map of wild land

Scottish Natural Heritage identified ‘Search Areas for Wild Land’ in 2002. These were considered to be where the most significant and valued areas of wild land would be found.  But the map was a preliminary one, not including small areas or precisely defining boundaries, prepared for debate and further refinement. Our recent work has applied GIS techniques in a more objective and robust approach.

The new map of wild land is the result of analysis undertaken in three phases:

Phase I mapped the relative wildness for all of Scotland, using four physical attributes: perceived naturalness, rugged or challenging terrain, remoteness from public roads, and visible lack of built development and other modern artefacts.

Phase II analysed the data to identify the largest and most wild areas (producing a long list of possible areas of wild land).

Phase III used informed judgement to select areas of wild land character, and draw provisional boundaries.

via Mapping Scotland’s wildness – Scottish Natural Heritage.

WHYLD | ecoartscotland

WHYLD | ecoartscotland.

Join the Masters students of Art, Space, and Nature (ECA) for a private viewing of our exciting final show. WHYLD is an exhibition of works that manifest our various interpretations of the concept of wilderness. The show opens 23rd of May from 5pm to 8pm at Patriot Hall Gallery. Speak with the artists and enjoy food and refreshments.

Flyer (A5) Whyld

Scottish wild land map

More important progress on wild land mapping

BBC News – Scottish wild land map a UK first, says heritage agency.

What has been described as the UK’s first map of wild land has been published by Scottish Natural Heritage.

It involves almost four million acres of land in Scotland deemed to be natural, remote, with challenging terrain and few modern structures.

SNH said the map was part of government efforts to protect the areas and guide development in the landscapes.

The 43 areas marked on the map include Black Laws, Cape Wrath, Jura, Lochnagar, Merrick and Schiehallion.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) said the map could lead to mountain areas becoming “islands” surrounded by wind farms on nearby land not designated as wild.

The map forms part of the Scottish government’s new National Planning Framework (NPF3) and draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP).


PDF downloadWild Land Map[225KB]

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

The two documents strengthen environmental protection for Scotland’s wildest and most scenic landscapes, the government said.

They also prohibit the construction of wind farms in 19% of Scotland which is covered by national parks and national scenic areas.

‘Impressive wildlife’

SNH said the map was the first of its kind in the UK.

Other areas included are Skye’s Cuillin mountains, the South Uist hills and Quinag in Sutherland.

Knoydart, often described as Britain’s last wilderness, also features.

The largest area on the map are the Cairngorms which are listed on the map’s table as covering more than 390,416 acres (157,996 ha).

Andrew Bachell, SNH director of operations, said wild land was a valuable asset.

CairngormsThe Cairngorms is the largest area on the map

He said: “It makes an important contribution to our tourism industry and images of wild places also help support Scotland’s worldwide reputation as a beautiful and impressive country.

“It makes a crucial contribution to our quality of life and we know that most Scots consider wild places to be important to them. Wild land also supports biodiversity and is often associated with our most impressive wildlife.”

Mr Bachell added: “Our new map will enable planners and developers to take account of wild land, particularly in planning future wind farm and any other large scale developments.”

MCofS chief officer David Gibson said the council was still assessing the map and its supporting information

He said: “We are disappointed at the apparent lack of provision of buffer zones around national scenic areas and national parks.

“From the map it appears that mountain areas in Scotland could appear like islands surrounded by a sea of turbines.”

Mr Gibson added: “Hardly a positive move in this Year of Natural Scotland.”