The aim of the course was to give an understanding of land use in Southwest Norway, with a particular focus on forestry, game management, and conservation. Relevance has been heightened by recent trends in Scottish rural policy, seeking to redress the balance in land tenure between smaller-scale freehold, community land ownership, and the sporting interests on private estates. Visiting these upland areas of montane scrub in Norway was incredibly inspiring, showing us what we could do to restore habitats largely lost from the Scottish landscape.
In Romania wildflower meadows carpet the land, different species of birds pop up constantly, butterflies abound and the air is alive with the sound of insects and frogs singing. During the first two days of our trip we were lucky enough to spend time on our guide Monica’s grandmother’s farm in the tiny village of Girbovita, where we visited the vine yard, hey meadows, orchards, vegetable garden and farmyard animals before sitting down to a delicious home grown lunch
I knew that it was highly unlikely that I would see lynx in the wild during the visit to Latvia but nonetheless hoped that I may catch a glimpse or possibly see some tracks or scat. As it turned out the lynx remained elusive but being present in the forest where it was known that they lived had a powerful effect
The first thing that struck me about Latvia is that there are trees as far as the eye can see and it’s rare to see a fence, except occasionally in city gardens. In a country where forest covers just over half of the land mass (and the aim is to reach 56% cover) it was […]
Mr Vilcins explained that ‘the sight (of clear felled areas) was preposterous
With its independence, Latvia is negotiating and exploring the boundaries and crossovers between capitalism, neoliberalism, socialism, civic participation all beneath the umbrella of climate change threats and the remnants of its Soviet past. What we would deem as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ have completely different connotations and consequences in Latvia. Cooperative farming, a triumphant alternative example to intensive commercial commodity focused farming in Scotland is only just now coming back…
Approximately 3.9% of Latvia’s land is covered by bogs.. Although there are several other different wetland habitat types, from western taiga to boggy woodlands. During our visit we visited 3 different bogs in several different states. The first bog we visited was a Natura 2000 site and in its current state was as a flooded wetland. The bog had been stripped, complete with railways to remove the peat and a nearby town had been created to house the workers for the peat extraction (Seda).
with meadows full of wild flowers, butterflies and insects and forests composed of native trees. Despite this incredible biodiversity it was interesting to see that Slovenian nature conservation faces similar problems as we do in Scotland
There seems little doubt that Finns are more connected to nature and the outdoors than Scots – reflecting that Scotland has been more of an urban society for longer. The rights and responsibilities that come with Allemansratten are firmly embedded in the Finnish psyche. There are around 500,000 forest owners with an average holding of 44ha. This is one factor that has implications for the ongoing land reform debate at home and the level of connection to nature in Scotland.
This report is written from my perspective as a builder, researcher and trainer in Earth building.