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Discover European Diversity in Cultural and Natural Heritage
From 1 to 8 September 2017 we took part in an Erasmus+ study tour of south west Norway, led by Duncan Halley of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA). This is a brief report to summarise the lessons learnt from the visit. The main reason for the trip was to look at woodland cover and regeneration in south west Norway. This area of Norway is on the same latitude as the north of Scotland and shares a very similar climate and geology, and so highlights the potential for woodland cover in Scotland. SW Norway was deforested for centuries (for similar reasons to the Highlands) but in the last century, and particularly in the last 50 years, there have been large increases in woodland cover, mainly by natural regeneration. The main areas we visited were the Flekkefjord coastal region (Gården Li and Fidjadalen) in the extreme SW and which are comparable to the west coast of Scotland, and Byklehaiene near the town of Bjåen which is a bit further inland and akin to the Cairngorms. At the end of each day we all participated in group discussion, going over the main points of debate and topics that we […]
‘The forest is a poor man’s fur coat’ I heard this saying as we were walking through the National Museum, and it struck a chord with me. Over half of Estonia is covered by forest, and you can see how much they value it in their management, interpretation and visitor centres, and in so many of their natural wooden products. I was very impressed with RMK, especially with the design of their visitor centres and interpretation
I found myself drawn to as the week went on was the story of the history of landownership and land use in Latvia, the way in which forestry plays an important role in the economy of the country and how the people of Latvia interact with the woodland and wildlife in their country. I found it particularly thought provoking how that history has shaped the habitats and ecosystems that exist and how they function. (Alison Austin)
Over two-thirds of Finland is forest cover. Much is owned by private persons. Accessibility is also important because many people are able to use the forest, even if they do not own any forests themselves. People are able to use the forest and the wildlife within it as a renewable resource for wood products, hunting and foraging. Above all, most Finnish people strongly value the link with nature.
We learned that Finland has forty two National Parks and we were told that in total they receive around 4 million visitors per year. By contrast Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park (LLTTNP) has over 4.5 million visitors.
EVO is a hiking centre and forestry college in Kanta-Häme. As well as teaching forestry skills from an economic, recreational and conservational point of view, EVO offers opportunities for members of the public to engage with nature. For example, the public can pay to spend time with animals- there are numerous cows that the public can see and tend, while there is also a meat and grain store.
Nature is often fragile, however, and especially here in the North can be slow to recover from damage. With the freedom to enjoy the countryside comes the obligation to leave the environment undisturbed and preserve Finland’s rich natural heritage for future generations to enjoy.
This is a joint report written by Ian Bray (Scottish Natural Heritage), Georgie Brown (Galbraith), Estelle Gill (Scottish Natural Heritage), Michelle Henley (Scottish Wildlife Trust), Andrew James (Historic Environment Scotland), Gwen Raes (The Woodland Trust), Adam Samson (Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park).
One of the biggest challenges highlighted within the wetland examples was their future management and development, with uncertainty over governance models. This too, is a challenge for Scotland’s wetland areas, with implications for our exit from Europe
The history and culture of Poland is of great significance when considering not only nature conservation in Poland, but also how the population perceives their valuable natural assets. In Poland, the connection to the land was broken for a significant period of time…
Our structured course led our two car convoy through the mountains to visit many examples of innovation and practical solutions to the issues facing the rural economy. We visited traditional producers of almonds, figs, grapes (raisins), herbs, cheese and smoked sausages. At Kato Drys museum the connection with people from the past and their stories was both moving and engaging, and personal tours reinforced that authenticity.