Eight conservation bodies respond to deer story in press

The Trust was a joint signatory to a letter about deer management published in the Sunday Times on 6 September.

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The letter was in response to an article in the Sunday Times of 30 August which discussed the difficulties of neighbouring deer estates (Glenfeshie and Atholl) agreeing and achieving joint objectives for deer management and protecting important natural heritage sites from damage.

The text of the letter is reproduced in full below.

“Glenfeshie’s red deer cull will restore native pinewood

Your article discussed the difficulties of agreeing and achieving joint objectives for deer management and protecting important natural heritage sites (“Billionaire defends deer cull on estate”, News, last week). Deer fencing to resolve competing objectives is not a long-term solution.

The red deer population is estimated at more than 400,000. In the absence of predators such as the wolf and lynx, deer populations require to be managed. The Glenfeshie estate holds one of the most important remnants of Scotland’s native Caledonian pinewood, specially protected under European law, and which had previously been heavily damaged by deer browsing.

Anders Povlsen has taken the bold and positive step of reducing deer numbers on Glenfeshie to a level that will allow the native pine wood and other important habitats to recover. It is a tried and tested method of native woodland restoration that deer numbers first need to be reduced before effective tree regeneration can occur. After 15-20 years, deer populations can be allowed to increase gradually to sustainable levels, as deer browsing is an important component of a healthy woodland eco-system.

Scottish Natural Heritage has published its code of sustainable deer management. Glenfeshie estate is following this, restoring some of the finest native woodlands, and thereby contributing to wider landscape scale conservation efforts in the Cairngorms National Park. Deer stalking is still taking place, with healthier deer, and a wildlife rich habitat.

Duncan Orr-Ewing, head of species and land management, RSPB Scotland; Mike Daniels, The John Muir Trust; Maggie Keegan, The Scottish Wildlife Trust; Drennan Watson, The Cairngorms Campaign; Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life; Charles Dundas, The Woodland Trust Scotland; Helen Todd, Ramblers Scotland; Gus Jones, Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group”

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