Norway, 23-30 May 2016
Stuart, Eddie, Daisy, Marcin, Lynne, Gareth, Phil & Mike – the group in Norway
(and our guide Marius behind the camera).
This report follows a week study tour of Norway of structured learning for adult learners funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme organised by the Archnetwork in Scotland. The programme of the study week and the study themes are listed in Appendix 1.
Many thanks to our hosts and speakers at Hedmark University College, Evenstad, for their warm hospitality and imparting their knowledge, including Marius Kjønsberg (pictured right) who was our key guide and organiser.
Very best wishes to all the staff and students of Evenstad who made us feel very welcome, and for the interesting questions asked by the wildlife and forestry students during our lectures to them and the training and guiding by students on a fly fishing trip.
Our gratitude goes to Libby Urquhart of Archnetwork in Scotland for organising this study tour, and to the EU Erasmus Plus programme for financing, devising and promoting such useful adult learning and cultural exchange. We all are grateful to our employers for allowing us time to contribute and benefit from this experience.
This report is written from the individual perspectives of each participant. It does not necessarily represent the views of the organisations that each group member is employed by, and the author of each section does not represent the views of the other study tour participants.
Lynne Clarke co-ordinated and edited this report – many thanks from the rest of the group.
The participants were:
Eddie Anderson, Scottish Wildlife Trust;
Currently working with SWT at Montrose Basin in Angus I am involved with the management of their considerable Swan population. This involves liaising with local farmers, monitoring swan numbers, and protecting crops from Swan damage. I have worked with SWT in various guises and last year seen me spent time at Loch of the Lowes as a Species Protection Officer during the Osprey season. During this time I was able to offer educational beaver tours for visiting parties and to help monitor impacts from the resident beavers. I have been heavily involved with the growing Beaver population on the Tay catchment, and have been developing my skills in managing beavers to help land owners and managers to mitigate against the challenges that having beavers back in our landscapes will bring. I manage a fledgling charity (Wildlife Matters) that offers
beaver management, and gets vulnerable adults into the outdoors to give them hands on experience with beaver management and conservation projects. I am very keen to visit
Norway (first time) to hopefully see first-hand how beaver populations are managed there. I am keen to learn more about how land managers coexist with beavers and
hopefully bring some transferable knowledge back with me. Wildlife Matters aims to operate as a non-profit company which will use a portion of its profits to plough back into beaver conservation and the promotion of the many benefits to having them established
within Scotland once again. My work with beavers has seen me successfully apply management techniques such as flow devices to control flooding and water levels in beaver pools, protect trees, and to prevent burrowing into bankings of streams. All of these techniques are used to protect land use and private property, and to allow beavers to remain in the areas they have chosen.
Marcin Baranski, Forestry Commission Scotland; I am the Forest Management Forester in Inverness, Ross and Skye Forest District, the Forestry Commission. I cover the Eastern part
of the district, from the Black Isle on the north to the Cairngorms on the south, alongside the
My beat extends to circa 30k/ha, where I am responsible for a restock programme of 150-
200 ha, relevant maintenance operations as well as stewardship. The area is very diverse in terms of neighbours, from small, mostly
farming landholdings around Inverness to sporting estates further south.
I am interested in silviculture, deer and other mammal management, environment
management and ways of limiting conflicts between large herbivores/carnivores
populations and humans using the same space.
Lynne Clark, Scottish Natural Heritage;
I work for Scottish Natural Heritage at our headquarters in Inverness. I started working for SNH in October 2012, and currently provide support to the Director and the Head of Policy and Advice. As part of my role I also provide admin support to our Deer and their Sustainable Project Board, National Species Reintroduction and Scientific Advisory Committee. I edit the SNH Science newsletter, which provides information about SNH’s recent scientific work.
I studied Natural and Environmental Sciences at UHI
and graduated in 2009. Over the course of my degree
I studied a broad range of subjects and have a general interest in nature conservation and wildlife management. I’m keen to use my degree in a more specific environmental role in the future.
Many of the themes in the programme are key areas
of SNH’s work and I hope to gain insight into the ways other countries manage species and deal with the issues relating to them. My role offers many opportunities to see how
policy, science and operational matters are addressed in an integrated way. I hope this trip will allow me to gain experience of how these issues are being addressed elsewhere.
Stuart Findlay, Forestry Commission Scotland;
I work as the beat Forester for the Isle of
Mull and West Lorne. My beat has 16
Forest Blocks with a mixture of commercial conifer and semi natural ancient oak woodland, several SSSI’s and Glen Nant, National Nature Reserve. So my time is split and I have an office in Oban and on Mull and commute to Mull by ferry.
I have an annual Forest Management restocking / planting programme of
approx. 170ha and associated beat ups.
Our neighbours are all sheep farmers and sporting estates so Deer and Sheep ingress and impacts can be significant and I have around 90k annual fencing budget (it isn’t enough!!) I am intrigued by the idea of re- introducing Lynx into Scotland’s forests, if they can help with deer control and sheep deterrent. I’m interested how Norwegian people live and work with large carnivores and I would love to see wolves or a bear in the wild.
My annual Environmental programmes are targeted towards Rhododendron control
(approx. 100k per year); PAWS restoration and I have recently been working on a Life Project as part of the Pearls in Peril programme to help restore riparian habitats for freshwater pearl mussels and wild salmonids within the forests working with Argyll Fisheries Trust.
We have the Mull Eagle Watch which is a 5 star visitor attraction and is a partnership project to promote responsible wildlife watching associated with the Sea Eagle re-
introduction with all money generated going back into the community. Some of the
community love it and others loath it, so I’m interested on how people get on with Sea eagles in Norway. We have black grouse restoration projects so really interested in
learning from others and getting their thoughts on fox and crow control and raptor
management and getting an understanding on predation. I am interested in how you manage game birds/wildfowl /sport shooting.
My Communities, Recreation and Tourism role involves managing and maintaining all
the forest trails, mountain access tracks, bridges, car parks, viewpoints etc. within my blocks. Mull and West Lorne are some of the busiest forests for tourists and local visitors in the forest district so we are regularly working with tree surgeons doing maintenance and working with community groups on aspirational projects.
I am really interested all woodlands, woodland and wildlife management and woodland culture and communities. I am interested in sustainable deer management and how we
can make it work in Scotland and how Norway manages herbivore impacts.
Phillip Gordon, Woodland Trust Scotland;
I work for Woodland Trust Scotland managing their 5000 hectare Glen Finglas Estate in the Trossachs. I also do general land agency work on the rest of the Trust’s properties throughout Scotland. I retrained in land management a few years ago, but before that have worked as a forester in government & private sectors in Scotland, England and New Zealand. At Glen Finglas we recently became part of a new 16,500 hectare National Nature Reserve which brings new opportunities in working at this scale.
I was hoping in visiting Norway (for the first time), to see the habitats that hold the species that we talk so much
about in Scotland like the lynx, beaver, sea eagle and wolves. Also Norway is a place foresters often refer to in aspirations for farm scale woodland management. I’ve always been interested in interactions between different land uses and also different models of land ownership and tenure.
Gareth Marshall, RSPB Scotland;
I work for RSPB Scotland as the Capercaillie Project Officer, which is a role jointly funded by RSPB, SNH and FCS. I’m based in Inverness and my role is involved in all aspects of capercaillie conservation in Scotland. The biggest parts of my job are in population monitoring, provision of advice to land managers on best practice management and helping them to access SRDP grants to fund practical management. I’ve only been in the job for a year and a half and I’m sure there’s still plenty to learn.
I’ve always worked in the general area of upland ecology and conservation. Before working in my current role I worked for three years as an ecologist at a small consultancy
called Strath Caulaidh Ltd, specialising in deer population and herbivore impact assessments in forestry and upland habitats. Prior to this I worked for around 4 years for
RSPB in North Scotland on a series of advisory, survey and research contracts including black grouse lek surveys, the National Capercaillie Survey, the National Dotteral and montane bird survey, and a series of woodland grouse and pinewood ecology
experiments at Abernethy forest.
Daisy Whytock, East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative;
I am the project manager for the East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI). We work in partnership with East Ayrshire Council, RSPB, SNH, SWT, FCS and East Ayrshire Woodlands; our current project is focussed on peatland conservation and restoration in the East Ayrshire Coalfields, and is part of a bigger “umbrella” project called the EcoCo LIFE project which aims to improve ecological coherence in the Central Belt. Since 2013 we have enhanced around 400 hectares of raised and blanket bog habitat at four sites. A lot of my time is
spent advising farmers and estate workers on managing their bog habitats. We also run volunteer activities – mainly habitat monitoring and species surveys including black
grouse, adder, large heath butterfly, beetles and spiders.
Mike Wood, RSPB Scotland; I’m a Land agent in Scotland for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Birdlife International partner organisation in the UK.
I work with our staff who manage our nature reserves, assisting on land management grants, legal permissions and other matters such as forest certification and land use planning. This includes nature reserves that have semi-natural forests and plantations, peatland areas, grassland management for wading birds, seabird cliffs and islands.
I have worked for the RSPB since 2002.
From 2002-2015 I was the RSPB’s UK Forestry Policy Officer, working on forestry policy, legislation, regulation and certification with government and non-government bodies as well as advising our staff who carried out casework commenting on the biodiversity aspects of private and state sector forestry planting, management and felling proposals.
Before my time with the RSPB I taught ecology and nature conservation at the Scottish Agricultural College, Auchincruive, primarily to students on countryside management courses. This was on a small friendly campus, very like Evenstad, but without the moose burgers.
I like trees, interesting people and wearing daft sunhats – so this trip had a lot going for it!
History of Evenstad Campus
Lynne Clark, Scottish Natural Heritage
Evenstad Campus is situated in Central Norway in the municipality of Hedmark, beside Norway’s biggest river the Glomma. The campus is home to approx. 200 students and many of these are international students from throughout Europe and further afield.
Evenstad has an interesting and at times, unfortunate history! The farm was bequeathed to a smallholder’s daughter, Anne Olsdatter Kjøllhammaren in the early 1860’s, from Ole Olsted after both of his sons died from pneumonia. Anne was betrothed to Ole Olsted IIII and she was expecting his child when he died. Anne continued the farm operations as before and erected a new farm building. Anne’s son, Ole Olsen Evenstad, went off to study forestry and farm management throughout Europe and upon returning to Evenstad, opened the Rasten sawmill and steam-powered red planning mill. Between Ole and his mother they aimed to make Evenstad a centre of forestry culture. In 1898 Ole died and Anne went on to spend her fortune on a number of major initiatives to benefit the local community. These included donating an organ to the local chapel and donating 100,000NOK to the community for the forestry association. In 1909 Anne passed away and was given one of the most impressive funeral’s Stor-Elvdal had ever seen. After Anne’s death the Stor-Elvdal county council were keen to continue the development of an agricultural college and opened a forestry school at Evenstad in 1912. The subjects taught included practical exercises, cultivation and slash burning, sowing and planting, floating timber, blazing, soil surveys and botanising, forest economics and forest resource assessment. In 1987 the campus suffered a fire which burnt down the main school building. There were people who were keen to see the college move more centrally to Elverum but a new building was opened in Oct 1990 and it became the department of forestry and wildlife management, Evenstad Campus and part of Hedmark University College. In 1995 there was a further disaster in the form of bad flooding which once again destroyed the main building. There were further attempts to try to centralise the campus but a new bridge over the river Glomma meant he campus was now connected to the national road 3. The transition to become a regional college and then part of the regional university college has led to quality enhancement of the education and has meant that the school must be in a constant process of change and development. Fieldwork, research and hunting have become key parts of the curriculum and several courses being taught in English has attracted international students. In June 2011 Evenstad received accreditation for its own PhD degree, a PhD in Applied Ecology. They celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2012 with a 100-shot-salute, a scientific forestry seminar as well as anniversary celebration with 400 guests.
Land Ownership in Eastern Norway
Phillip Gordon, Woodland Trust Scotland
The impression from our study placement of the pattern of land ownership in the east of Norway is that it is relatively diverse, with a variety of private owners with holdings ranging in size from a few hectares to holdings of 30,000 hectares or more. The latter for example was a property owned by a sawmilling company from the south of the country that had acquired forest areas to secure supplies. By contrast we saw a household with 10 hectares and we stayed on Kvebergsøya Farm with 200 hectares.
The University of Evenstad where we were based is in the county of Hedmark. This is the most forested part of Norway and holds 20% of Norway’s forest area, and has land-use split of 94% forest, mountains and lakes, 4% agriculture and 2% other (e.g. urban). Hence the land holdings in this part of Norway have only small areas of productive farmland. This compares with the north of Norway with tracts of state owned forest land, and the west which has more small farms.
The impression driving north from Oslo towards Trondheim, is of a wild and forested landscape, yet at the same time well-populated, at least in the valleys, with a regular scatter of farms, houses and cabins that melt into the forest as you pass. Forest productivity especially at higher elevations is low, hence the impression is of a wild land managed with a light touch.
Land use and landowner incomes are diverse. On farms, sheep are turned out into the forest in the spring and free range over the summer months. Cabin developments and Lets bring in income or capital. Forests are a source of sporting income or wild game food. Timber is generally managed by cooperatives with 70% discounted produce to land owners as well as income from timber sales. A picture is painted of very individualistic landowners who make their views known, such as on the matter of sheep losses to large predators. Yet at the same time there is a collective pride in being Norwegian and somehow different.
The extent to which landowners are supported and regulated by the local municipality is in
stark contrast to urban-centric local government in the UK. So we learned that whilst farmers may be individualistic, they appear to be prepared to act in a cooperative and regulated way as determined by the municipality and also the forest cooperatives. Numbers of big game such as moose that can be shot are determined at the municipality level. The land management unit for shooting at the 200 hectare Kvebergsøya Farm in the north was
15,000 hectares and only small game such as grouse could be shot by the farmers on their own land.
Whilst no doubt there are exceptions, the impression from the study placement of land ownership in Norway is that despite the global theme of population movement to the cities, and challenges in maintaining populations and service’s in small communities, some of the land ownership in Norway can be a model for local management of natural resources in a sustainable manner. Whilst laws protect forests and wild animals, landowners seem able to derive income and benefits through management of modified natural habitats, with small scale agriculture that appears to be linked to other farm activities. These natural habitats are integral to a variety of income streams such as derived from for instance hunting, forest management, tourism and livestock grazing. The sustainable management of rivers, lakes, farmland and forest using native species supports and links these sources of income.
Sheep grazing in eastern/central Norway
We can be envious or aspire to this type of model. In Scotland the closest we can perhaps relate this to are crofts of the north and west, where the family and the house can be linked directly to local land use and diverse sources of income from on and off the croft. However, what differentiated our Norwegian experience was seeing the sustainable management of native species woodland and linked open habitats which are akin to climax post-glacial vegetation. Whilst no doubt there are challenges in terms of for instance economies of scale and the need for subsidies, the impression is of a resilient landscape being managed in a sympathetic manner to support rural populations. The challenge is to translate this experience to Scotland with a different history and pattern of landownership. The climate and the geology, at least in the south and west of Norway, are not dissimilar to our own, so that can be no excuse!
Tenant farmers as we know them in Scotland do not exist in Norway, yet the amount of land that is leased in Norway is considerable and growing. This is because most tenants in
Norway are already landowners, and land is rented out or in according to needs. This is interesting in the context of the current and ongoing land reform changes in Scotland and the lack of flexibility and complexity of Scottish agricultural holdings law. The pattern, nature and scale of land ownership and its management in Norway is the product of history and a more equal society. Having said that it appears there are also ongoing issues with the amalgamation of holdings and the potential impacts of these changes on land use and management. The Norwegian Government is seeking to liberalise the land market that previously meant that farms stayed in the family. They are therefore moving in the opposite direction to the changes planned under the Land Reform Act in Scotland that seeks to increase the number of landowners. The contrasting approaches in two countries with very different starting points in terms of current patterns of ownership highlights the pros and cons of large land holdings and the economic pressures on rural communities and economies.
Reflections on forestry in Norway compared to Scotland
Mike Wood, RSPB Scotland
The first thing that greets a forestry-focused traveller heading north out of Oslo from the Gardermoen airport is trees. Lots of them – mostly birch, pine and spruce – and looking like they have naturally regenerated and that they are within a well-wooded landscape.
The second thought is of high fences for forests neighbouring the highway and concrete bridges covered with trees and other vegetation crossing the motorway in forested areas. Moose related we are told.
As the week progressed we saw many examples of firewood production for domestic use, from small-scale on individual properties to larger-scale operations. Travelling further North later in the trip we saw carpets of lichens on the forest floor and more sparse arctic/alpine habitats. We learnt of the challenges of managing populations of predators – wolverine, wolves, lynx and bears – all four present in Hedmark and for conflicts for some of these animals in more people and sheep dominated landscapes elsewhere, as well as moose hunting. The cultural and economic importance of hunting came through, and how this may be assisting Norway’s forest trees to naturally regenerate.
There are apparent differences in the forests and forest management of Southern Norway and Scotland, but also intriguing parallels between them.
Norway has 39.8% forest cover, compared to the UK of 13%, with Scotland at 18% (UN FAO 2015 & Forestry Commission 2015). For comparison with other countries see Figure 1 below.
Figure 1 – comparison of forest cover.
UK – 13.0% (Scotland: 18%; England: 10%; Wales 15%; Northern Ireland: 6.2%) Norway – 39.8%
Sweden – 68.4% Finland – 73.1%
Germany – 32.8%
France – 31.0%
Republic of Ireland – 10.9%
(UN FAO 2015i & Forestry Commission 2015).
Norway’s forest cover is focused in the Southern part of the country, with 20% of Norway’s
tree cover in the main county visited in this trip (Hedmark).
In Norway the main forestry tree species are native; spruce (Norway spruce), pine (Scots pine) and birch (UN FAO 2015ii). Birch can be an early part of plantations and then removed for firewood.
In Scotland the most common forest tree is North American Sitka spruce, as part of late 20th century afforestation of uplands, wetter land and peatland habitats. The remnant boreal forest of Scotland and more recent Scots pine plantations within the natural range of Scots
pine offer an obvious comparison with Southern Norway’s Norway spruce, Scots pine and birch forests.
Scotland’s non-native conifer plantations, often on wetter and windier sites, outside Scotland’s boreal zone also offer interesting comparisons with the Norwegian boreal forests in terms of forest management approaches, systems, outputs and economic activity. There is also increasing interests in the economic aspects of native pinewood for timber in Scotland, alongside sporting deer interests, biodiversity and other aspects.
Halley (2016i), however, cautions about comparing the eastern forests of Southern Norway with Scotland, while suggesting this is where British foresters often visit. Halley comments that these large eastern forests near the Swedish border are neither representative nor typical of other Norwegian forests due to their dry and cold climate and different forestry practices. Halley, however, suggests that South West Norway offers a closer comparison to North mainland Scotland with similar patterns in rainfall, wind and temperature as well as landform and geology, peatland and a history of deforestation followed by replanting activity. Sounds like a good reason for a return visit to a different part of Norway!
Forest types & productivity
The majority of forests visited and discussed on this trip were boreal spruce, pine and birch forests in South Eastern Norway in Hedmark, with a trip further north into arctic/alpine habitats when visiting the Dovrefjell National Park (for example juniper dominated dwarf woodland). The biogeographic zones of Norway are shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 – Biogeographic zones of Norway
Norway is the westernmost mainland country shown.
We did not visit forests in the nemoral (Nordic temperate) zone, for example deciduous
temperate woodland of oak or beech, or a mix of conifer and deciduous trees that can be found in the Nordic ‘boreonemoral’ zone that is a transition between boreal and temperate forests types.
The woodland cover in Scotland includes both temperate and boreal native forest types. In Scotland the boreal forest is the remnant native pinewood, both the remaining Caledonian pinewood sites which consists of long-established native Scots pinewood often with occasional veteran trees plus areas more recent Scots pine plantations. Note that Scotland is the most Western location for the natural range of the Scots pine which includes Norway and further East (Steven & Carlisle 1959).
Note that the natural vegetation of both Norway and Scotland is post-glacial, i.e. it recolonised the land following the last ice-age.
Figure 3 – Forest tree composition & productivity in different regions of Norway (Follum
NB ‘hogstclasse’ is a forestry Yield Class [the volume of timber a stand of trees grows in a
year; e.g. Yield Class 5 is growing 5 cubic metres of timber per hectare per year].
Ownership of forests
In Norway the state forest company, Statskog, is the largest single landowner (59,000km2[5,900,000ha]), and the largest forest owner (Statskog 2016). 80% of Norway’s forest area is privately owned (Halley 2016i). There has been a long history of joint private ownership in Norway from ancient times and from the 18th century these joint ownerships were divided between individual owners (Norwegian Forestry Museum display).
Statskog’s forests are approximately 1million ha, but this is only 17% of their landholding (Statskog 2016). 47% of the area of this forest land (470,000ha) is described as ‘productive’ forestry from which approximately 380,000 cubic metres of timber are cut annually which is about 5% of Norway’s annual timber cut. Forestry Commission Scotland softwood timber production is approximately 2,644,000 green tonnes (Forestry Commission 2016).
In Scotland the Forestry Commission is the largest forest owner (478,000ha) and owns 33% of the woodland, with the private and non-state sector owning 66% of the woodland (Forestry Commission 2015). Statskog landholding is over twelve times the area of Forestry Commission land in Scotland, but has just over doubled the area of forests compared to Scottish state forestry.
An important difference between Scotland and Norway seems to be the nature of private ownership of forests. In Norway there can be a closer connection between farmers and forests, with the former owning the latter; but not necessarily always in an intimate mix within their agricultural holding but also owning parts of much larger collaboratively owned and managed forests which could be some distance from the farm. This is not confined to the area we were studying – in South West Norway it is estimated that farms have about three times the amount of productive forestry as arable land (Halley 2016ii).
More information on such private ownership of forests is in Phillip Gordon’s section of this report.
Figure 4 highlights the increasing volume of timber in Norway’s forests, with spruce dominating.
Figure 4 – timber volumes in Norwegian forests: historic & projected (Pettersen 2000)
Key: ‘Gran’ = spruce [often Norway]; ‘Furu’ = pine [often Scots]; ‘Lauvtraer’ = broadleaved
trees [birch and other species].
Fencing of forests & moose hunting
We learn that the fences next to the highway are to protect the road-users from moose collisions and the green bridges are moose crossings to try to keep them away from the road. Unlike in Scotland where the fences are often used to protect the trees (from deer). Moose collisions are also a public safety and transport reliability problem on Norway’s railways as these animals seek out young trees and other vegetation to forage along the railway tracks.
Hunting moose helps protect trees from moose damage, and that there are also carnivores that predate these browsers of trees. Unlike in Scotland where fencing is often used to protect forests from deer, alongside deer control and promotion of landscape-scale collaborative approaches to deer management and there are no large predators for deer.
It seems that the focus of the management of moose is the management of hunting, and less of a forest management – tree regeneration concern, unlike for some forest owners in Scotland. The moose hunting is licensed through the municipality with the annual allocation of the number of moose to be shot by each hunter based upon area of forest they own (too small a forest area owned, no access to moose hunting, but moose on your land could be shot by another hunter with greater forest area and therefore moose hunting allocation).
On this trip, the cultural and economic importance of hunting is stressed. This seems to be more widespread and more commonplace a practice compared to Scotland, with moose hunters paying a nominal hunting fee and a more substantial overall charge for the carcass (priced per kilo) with the meat going to the hunter, often for their own domestic consumption. The forests seem to be seen as an important backdrop to the hunting, but the timber values could still be greater than the hunting economic benefits. Note that private forest ownership can be on a group basis, with management contracted out; as well as the large state forest organisation, Statskog.
There are local collaborative voluntary approaches to moose hunting encouraged by the municipalities, which can result in favourable moose bag limits for hunters; but apparently there can be problems in collaboration and agreement – an interesting similarity to
approaches to voluntary collaborative area-based deer management in Scotland.
The hunting of moose seems to offer Norwegian forest managers an important way to manage forests through natural regeneration, reduce threats from browsing damage to established trees as well as to provide hunting income and/or a source of meat. We were shown examples of moose damage to forests and experimental plots to exclude moose by erecting internal forest fences to create moose exclosures, and trial diversionary feeding areas; see the following images. Moose prefer pine, birch, aspen, rowan and willow species
– it is likely that these measures are mainly to protect pine as a key timber species and perhaps to protect birch, an important source of firewood.
Historic moose damage to forest – note moose browse line on trunks.
Moose diversionary feeding trial plot. This is on a clear-fell area and may have been a poorly located site in terms of tree regeneration and durability of the site. This work highlights the Norwegian approach of farmer and forest owner model – use of an agricultural crop and machinery to address a forestry problem.
In Scotland deer management is seen as a key issue for the successful establishment of new forests and the restocking of trees in existing woodlands. The erection of deer fencing often seen as a key way to achieve this in light of high deer numbers and current site and collaborative approaches to hunting to manage deer populations.
Gareth Marshall’s report should provide perspectives on management of capercaillie in relation to risks from flying into deer fences, as well as thoughts on habitat quality, extent and connectivity for this bird of biodiversity interest.
Non-timber forest products, right to roam & biodiversity
The production of firewood seems to be an important part of forest management in the parts of Norway visited, and can often make use of birch from early parts of forest rotations. Norwegian firewood is produced on a small-scale by forest owners for their own domestic consumption often using simple tractor mounted machinery, or there can also larger-scale commercial firewood operations for harvesting, production and distribution. The widespread nature of this activity and the diversity of scales seem beyond current Scottish practice.
An example of small-scale timber conversion for firewood for domestic consumption in Norway.
An example of firewood storage. Large intricate beehive stacks of cut firewood were observed in forests for drying.
Mushrooms & berries
The right to collect mushrooms and berries is part of land access rights (Norwegian right to roam) and is therefore part of forest ownership, management and usage. It would be interesting to see how this connects with voluntary forest certification under the PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification) system, for example whether there is a need to define sustainable levels of harvesting of non-timber forest products.
Statskog is PEFC certified – the Forestry Commission in Scotland is certified under both Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and PEFC forest certification systems under the single national standard (UKWAS – UK Woodland Assurance Standard). In Scotland berry and fungi collection in forests requires the landowner’s permission and there is good practice guidance from Scottish Natural Heritage. Under the UK’s FSC certification it is necessary to record harvesting of these products and set sustainable levels.
In Norway berry collection is the second most valuable non-timber commodity (excluding firewood) after wild meat (estimated at 210 million Norwegian Krone, compared to 620
Norwegian Krone [UN FAO 2015ii, table 4b]; approximately £21m and £62m – NB possible lack of berry collection data and collection for non-commercial use). Note that berry
collection is not mentioned in the UK’s return to the UN’s global forest resources
assessment (UN FAO 2015iii, table 4b).
Lichen in Norwegian forests
Please refer to Gareth Marshall’s report on capercaillie. Scottish pinewoods and Norwegian spruce and pine forests can support capercaillie, with suitable habitat such as Scots pine with blaeberry – habitat path size, quality and connectivity may be an issue for Scotland compared to Norwegian forests.
Scottish plantation forestry can have low levels of deadwood habitats, we saw similar levels in the Norwegian spruce and pine forests visited. Many of these plantations operate under forest certification which may set minimum levels of deadwood – occasional standing dead trees were seen in recently harvested areas of Norwegian forests. We were informed that there are some areas of old growth forest, or individual veteran trees with more recent forests in Norway – with 250 year old pine being considered as high value over-size timber for speciality markets, such as repair of historic buildings. Note that some of the veteran trees in Scotland may be older and have more open grown growth forms and potentially offer greater deadwood habitat microhabitat diversity.
It would be of interest to compare the type and number of protected areas in Norwegian versus Scottish Forests. This would need to compare any designations against International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories of protected areas (see Dudley
2008) – for example the National Parks in Scotland, Wales, England and Norway may be a lower IUCN category of protected area – IUCN Level 6 ‘Protected Landscape’, due to the
land uses within them compared to Norwegian National Parks which are listed as IUCN
Level 2. Also note that some of Scotland’s wildlife designations are domestic, such as sites
of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves (neither of which meet IUCN’s Level 1b ‘strict nature reserve’ protected area category), with Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives do not apply in Norway – making comparison difficult.
Other aspects of forest management
Diversity of income streams
Private forest owners in Norway may have a diverse range of income streams, with firewood, hunting and sale of cabin plots being the three main sources; this may be different and a more diverse mix of income sources compared to Scotland. Figure 4 shows the diversity of income streams for owners of private forestry in Norway. Note this is for all of Norway, there may be local differences.
Natural regeneration of trees
The use of natural tree regeneration in the spruce, pine and birch forests seen in South Eastern Norway seems to allow a greater flexibility in forest management approaches. We saw evidence of use of selection forestry systems, such as shelterwood – retaining some trees to provide seed into sites felled to produce the next timber crop. Halley (2016i) suggests that natural regeneration also has an important role in the forestry of South West Norway.
The use of natural regeneration of trees – supported by appropriate levels of browsing pressure combined with use of ground preparation by scarification to promote good conditions for seed growth – rather than tree planting, may require a more hands-on and iterative approach to forestry. Such an approach may be required throughout the life of the tree crop, compared to the menu like planning and management of high forest, patch clear- fell systems adopted in many plantations in Scotland (assess the site suitability, prepare the ground, plant the trees and provide necessary protection from deer and other damage to ensure successful tree establishment, maybe thin the crop in the interim to re-space the planted trees to help the final crop and then clear-fell for timber at the end of the cycle). Note that some boreal forest owners in Scotland, such as the RSPB at Abernethy Forest Nature Reserve in Speyside, have worked on reducing deer numbers to levels to promote natural regeneration of trees without deer fencing.
It seems that some of Norway’s foresters have more flexibility to manipulate their forest stands, perhaps due to favourable conditions for natural regeneration of trees, giving them more options in terms of tree selection and markets compared to their Scottish counterparts. There may also be a greater diversity of timber and non-timber forest products utilised in Norwegian forests. It has been suggested that there may be some planting at tree restock sites. The management of Norwegian and Scottish forests both embody aspects of sustainable multiple benefit forestry, some being managed for a range of economic, social and environmental objectives.
It was suggested to us on our trip that selective felling in Norway was more prevalent until the 1950s, then a switch to clear-fells and then a switch to ‘ecological forest management’ under voluntary PEFC certification. It was not possible to examine in detail forest management approaches and systems, either locally or for regional and national trends. It was also not possible to examine how environmentally beneficial such PEFC certification is, particularly in terms of forest management practices and any targeted work for priority wildlife species and habitats (some info on PEFC in Norway in: Anon 2015).
It would be of interest to also examine what role patch size and habitat connectivity play in wildlife conservation in Norwegian forests and what is the habitat quality produced from regular forest management in Norway – i.e. are there bigger more connected forest habitats, that may not be of the highest ecological quality but may be sufficient for some key wildlife species, compared to more targeted biodiversity conservation in Scotland but within a smaller network of more isolated habitat patches. This also connects with the protection afforded by designated sites networks present in each country (for example differences between ‘protective’ and ‘protected’ forests).
It would have been useful to discuss forest management in Norway with a forest owner (could be a farmer) and a private and state forester to better understand their forest management approaches, timber and firewood markets and how they set and manage for non-timber objectives, such as hunting, leisure/recreation and wildlife conservation, and issues such as wildlife conflicts, forest plant health concerns and voluntary forest certification. It would also have been helpful to discuss forestry law and regulation in Norway, for example the licensing of tree felling and any mandatory forestry standards/practices and how these are applied at forest, municipality and national levels.
Norway – Visitor Management, Signage, Interpretation and
Stuart Findlay, Forestry Commission Scotland
Norway is an amazing country, like Scotland in many ways but also very different. I was particularly interested to see its approach to Forest visitor facility management and the signs and interpretation and sculpture it used.
One of the most eye catching sculptures and pieces of interpretation / art we saw on our trip was a huge chrome moose at the side of the road. I thought this was absolutely stunning as it looked to be just strolling out the forest edge. This epitomises the countries passion and obsession about moose hunting, and it balances it as a national icon.
Artistically it also reminds drivers there are moose in the area and to take care and hopefully this will reduce road traffic accidents and moose. The sculpture has an abundance of fun as well with it being to scale, and the droppings scattered in the trees and carved from stone with forest animal tracks carved on them. These were really tactile and were realistically placed in the forest edge exactly where a real mouse would go.
Bear claw carved into stone moose dropping.
I found the moose was really similar style to the Kelpies at Grangemouth, being a stunning community art exhibit, at a road side location. Both of these can capture the driver’s imagination and visitors can opt to pull in and stretch their legs or just smile and drive by. We didn’t see it lit up at night but like the Kelpies I am sure it would have been even more impressive with real atmosphere and character.
The moose sculpture and the continued theme of road safety was a complemented along the road at various points with multi coloured moose antlers mounted high on roadside pines and with cat’s eyes to reflect passing cars headlights at night. Again this is really fun eye catching art by day but gives a serious warning and message that moose crossing the road is a real danger. Although we didn’t see the moose antlers at night I am sure the reflecting cat’s eyes would have been a great thing to wake up drivers and get kids talking on long journeys. We did see numerous mouse from the road and can imagine when they are migrating can pose a serious risk to road users.
As a group we did see along the main road and railway lines strategic moose fences which to try and reduce the chance of moose getting onto the road or railway line and some
purpose built fly overs that had been put in and wooded to offer a safe alternative to moose
crossing the road.
The art work on the walls of the college also highlighted the nation’s passion for woodlands, wildlife and nature, with hunting, shooting and fishing being at the very core of the photography. This differs from Scotland where we would likely show nature being observed not really being harvested. The college also had a fantastic collection of taxidermy on show in receptions and classrooms, canteens and library’s.
Again this style differs from Scotland where we wouldn’t really showcase taxidermy and would be considered probably quite Un PC or old fashioned. We wouldn’t really show hunting or fishing images more images of deer or rivers.
The connection the Norwegian people still have to the forests and its wildlife is inspirational. People are happy to mount hunting trophies on their house in full view of the road.
The woodland signage was well sited and maintained. I was really impressed with the signage on the riverbank. This had a clear layout with good maps, contact details and was multi lingual. The fishing was being promoted by fishspot with QTRA boxes where people could buy an online permit and have it mailed to their phone.
This is a creative use of technology and enables people to fish whenever they want. In Scotland you would have to find a permit out let, hope that it is open or fish illegally. The national forest managers, equivalent to FCS, Statskog are passionate about promoting fishing and hunting and have this same link on their web sites.
They also actively promote free fishing for under 20’s and over 60’s. I think this is a fantastic approach and surely must help get people of all ages out fishing and enjoying the forests.
This foresighted approach to fishery management ensures school kids and students to retired and elderly all can enjoy free fishing on the national forest estate in Norway which is a great way to get people out and enjoying the forest. This initiative could and should be adopted in Scotland.
Although we have fantastic trout fishing on the national forest estate in Scotland it isn’t
mentioned at all on our website I have never seen it promoted on any of our publications. In
Norway I saw it promoted on the front page of the state forest quarterly magazine and a key theme on their web site.
The fishing shelters on the river were also perfectly situated overlooking the river and looked to be well maintained and no signs of misuse. These could be used by other forest visitors and I am sure would suit remote sites with views in some of the forests I manage.
The students who generously hosted us on the river were great interpreters and ambassadors for fishing in Norway. They were all polite, friendly and approachable and their enthusiasm for their fishing and sharing their river was great to see. They were all really patient and helpful. They have the same concerns as us about salmon farming and hydro schemes and their negative effects on wild fish populations. They also pitched their level of instruction at the right level as many in our group had never even fished before.
Everyone in our group thoroughly enjoyed the day on the river which is a great credit to the students who hosted us. Prior to us fishing they had also scoped out other fishing locations based on our experience levels and in relation to the river levels and had got special permission to take us even before the official fishing season started which is great guiding and hospitality.
To fish in Norway, on a beautiful river with great company and catch a beautiful wild brown trout was to realise a childhood dream.
The live interpretation we got Heidi was also of a very high standard and her natural enthusiasm and passion for her countries wildlife was obvious to see. She was able to discuss sensitive issues concerning large carnivore management openly and honestly. Again this is a real difference to live interpreters in Scotland who would likely shy away from topics of predator control or field sports.
We visited mining interpretation at Folldal which although utilised some of the left over mining steel girders and trucks didn’t really have an obvious strong message or theme. The town centre did have a huge pick axe sculpture to commemorate its mining heritage which looked really good but this may have been better up by the mining buildings.
This style of signage was mirrored at the bombing range where they have utilised the old industrial materials to fix their panels on. Here they had cleverly cut out a musk ox from solid steel and set it up at a safe distance to warn visitors of the safe distance to pass these large herbivores. The silhouette of the musk ox from the cut out was really striking and at first looks like a real ox on the hill.
Unfortunately the famous SNOHETTA viewpoint was closed to visitors when we were there but from the leaflets it looked a stunning interpretive centre and great modern art. Made out of wood the sleek lines of the viewpoint are sculpted into visitor seating with glass viewing area and floating wood burning stove but it looked so smooth and sculpted it looks like it has been made from the keel of a boat.
The Mountain garden was a lovely spot however I didn’t really see any plant ID’s but this may be added later in the year.
The forestry museum was a great visitor attraction. The museum had a wide variety of indoor exhibits. The Fishing and Hunting floor was stunning. All aspects of the sports were covered. I couldn’t imagine this ever being showcased in Scotland despite our rich sporting traditions. I think too many scots have lost their connection to field sports and only a few interpreters would consider giving museum space over to such potentially controversial subject matter.
They also should Anti field sports groups and demonstrations to show that not everyone agreed with hunting and they had that right to their views and to protest.
All of the sites were clean and almost entirely free from litter. Again I think this shows the connection and respect the Norwegian people have for their forests and countryside.
The museum was an amazing combination of old and new with real artefacts and black and white logging footage to stunning modern tree sculpture and interpretation showing photosynthesis in a tree.
There really was something for everyone. Outside in the grounds continued this theme with old woodlanders cabins a working saw mill , tar pit and charcoal making which they get working in the summer so that people can see , hear , touch and smell the woodland traditions. This is truly interactive exhibits. Scotland should get its own forestry museum.
We were also shown a pool just off the river that they stock with trout and get kids to fish in. They then show them how to smoke their catch. What a fantastic forest school experience. Marius also explained the government has put aside money to give all of Norway’s new migrants the chance to experience the forests and hunt, shoot and fish and get involved in local clubs. Thus retaining their traditions but also bringing the new migrants right into the heart of Norwegian society and culture and the communities they have joined. I thought this was so enlightened and inclusive. Scotland could learn a lot from this approach.
At the centre of the museum grounds was great BBQ area, covered so it could to be enjoyed in all weathers. This was a great space and with the BBQ smoke a drifting over the grounds there was a real connection to the forest exhibits.
The thing I was most impressed with all the exhibits, signs and sculptures in Norway were they were politely showcasing their connection to the Forest and its associated hunting, shooting cultures. From harvesting berries to harvesting logs they are truly connected. They weren’t embarrassed or hiding their love for hunting, shooting or fishing nor were they forcing them onto people. I think this balanced respectful approach is definitely the way forward.
They appeared to be combining old and new techniques to attract both the young and old of all backgrounds.
The people of Norway have a real connection to their wildlife and forests and are taking great steps to safeguard this connection for future generations. I think Scotland has largely lost this connection to the Forest as it has sadly lost its forest cover, so the challenge is how we re-awaken this connection to the forests in the Scottish people as we reforest Scotland.
Giving free fishing on the national forest estate to under 20’s and over 60’s would be a great start!!
Remains of the old log shutes which now lie as silent monuments to the log floating traditions of the past.
Management of wild reindeer (Rangifera tarandus) populations in
Daisy Whytock, East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative
As part of the study visit to Norway, our group had the opportunity to visit the native habitat of the wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) at Dovrefjell National Park in central Norway and the Wild Reindeer Centre at Hjerkinn, guided by Heidi Ydse, a nature interpreter for the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate (SNO). The report describes the biology, cultural significance, threats and conservation of wild reindeer in Norway.
Norway is home to Europe’s remaining herds of wild, mountain reindeer, which traditionally migrate long distances from winter to summer pastures. Norwegians have long hunted the reindeer and hunting is still used in managing this species. A century ago, wild reindeer were almost hunted to extinction, and more recently anthropogenic disturbance has led to increasingly fragmented herds. In response the Norwegian government has sought to protect reindeer through hunting quotas, establishment of protected areas and has introduced strict legislation to limit development in reindeer habitat.
Reindeer belong to the deer family (Cervidae) and are unique in that both sexes grow antlers. Animals live in herds of up to several hundred individuals, which is thought to be an anti-predation strategy.
Reindeer are specially adapted to survive the harsh arctic and alpine areas of their natural range. An incredibly thick coat containing 700 hairs per cm2 helps them to withstand winter temperatures as low as -40o Celsius. They have deeply-splayed cloven hooves that enable them to traverse both wetlands in summer and deep snow in winter.
Both sexes shed their antlers, but females keep theirs until their calves are born in May – June. This aids them in competing for the best feeding grounds; it is imperative that females are in peak condition to ensure breeding success.
The reindeer diet varies between seasons, with the summer diet made up of shrubs such as dwarf birch (Betula nana), grasses and some lichens. Lichens can make up to 80% of the winter diet along with dried grasses and other plants. A heightened sense of smell enables the reindeer to locate lichens deep under snow. The winter diet does not provide a great deal of protein, but provides carbohydrate for maintenance. A good, protein-rich food supply in the summertime is vital to promote growth in time for the harsher winter months. Herds need to cover large areas to find enough food. Figure 2 below illustrates the spatial habitat requirements of a reindeer in comparison with other Cervids (“deer” = red deer).
Figure 2: The wild reindeer’s use of area compared with other cervids. Source: Wild
Reindeer & Society, NINA, Thematic report 27 (Villrein, no date1).
Distribution and migration
Wild reindeer are native to northern parts of Europe, Asia, North America, Svalbard (sub- species R. tarandus platyrhynchus) and Greenland. Domesticated herds have been introduced to South Georgiai and Iceland.
In Norway the remaining wild population is restricted to the south and Svalbard, whereas domesticated animals are herded by Sami, indigenous people of Fennoscandia, in the North of the country. There are around 25,000 wild reindeer in Norway, managed in 23 separate wild reindeer areas (Figure 3). These fragmented populations previously ranged across the mountainous areas of Norway, migrating between summer and winter feeding grounds.
Figure 3: 23 reindeer areas in south Norway, and proposed national and European reindeer areas (Villrein, nodate2)
History & culture
Norwegians are evidently proud of their reindeer, an enigmatic animal that has been a key resource for thousands of years. Hunting reindeer and other species is regarded as an important aspect of Norwegian culture and continues as part of the modern way of life. Animals were traditionally hunted for meat and skins (this hasn’t changed), using spears and bows and arrows. Migration corridors were utilised as a way of hunting whole herds of animals by funnelling animals towards pitfall traps or off precipices. Archaeological trapping remains have helped scientists study the former ranges and migration routes of reindeer (Jordhøy, 2008).
Today, up to 5000 reindeer are hunted each year and hunting by man is the largest cause of death in wild reindeer. This is viewed as a sustainable use of this species and a way of managing the population to prevent overgrazing of pastures. The aspirational population of wild reindeer in Norway is 32,000. 8 – 9,000 people hunt reindeer in Norway each year (Statistics Norway, 2015). By taking part in hunting it is possible that a greater number of Norwegians are interested in the conservation of wild reindeer.
Figure 4: Number of wild reindeer hunted in Norway each year (Statistics Norway, 2015)
Amongst the Sami the domestication of reindeer is at least 1000 years old. Pastoral grazing of semi-domesticated reindeer by the Sami has been documented since the 16th century (Bjorklund, 1990). Individual ownership of reindeer at a household scale and communal grazing of mixed-herds is the typical practice. Each year, herders move animals from winter to summer grazing areas to make use of the most suitable pastures.
Predation of reindeer by large carnivores presents conflicts with Norwegian hunters and the Sami people. A study by Nybakk et al. (2002) into predation on semi-domesticated reindeer by wild carnivores showed that the primary cause of mortality in animals was predation (particularly calves and yearlings) and that the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) was responsible for
39.3% of mortality in the sample population. More recently, there have been controversial moves to cull golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) in areas where birds have been thought to predate on young reindeer.
Threats to wild reindeer
Human activity in reindeer habitat has caused disturbance to wild populations. The construction of roads and railways, for example the E6 road through the Dovre area, has created a physical barrier to migrating reindeer. Reindeer are extremely flighty and will avoid coming within 5km of a road or building, and the “piecemeal” nature of developments has resulted in a 70% decline in undisturbed reindeer habitat (Nellemanna et al. 2003). Many of these developments are in the winter habitat for the reindeer, the availability of which is known to be a limiting factor in reindeer populations, thus posing a threat to the survival of the species (Nellemana et al., 2001). Increased human activity, relating to tourism for example, has implications for wild reindeer as the use of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles results in avoidance behaviour.
The effects of climate change on reindeer are less easy to predict. Warmer, wetter weather could impact on habitat availability (melting of glaciers), food availability and increase prevalence of parasites and diseases. In the reindeer areas, populations of musk oxen (Ovibos moschatus) have suffered from outbreaks of pneumonia and pasturellosis in recent years, which is thought be triggered by warmer conditions (Ydse, H., pers comm).
Reindeer conservation and management
· Legal protection
Norway has an obligation to protect its wild reindeer population. However, as Norway is not a member of the European Union this is carried out via a different approach.
Rangifera t. tarandus is listed as Appendix II, strictly protected fauna species in the Bern
Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats 1979, of which
Norway is a ratifying member.
Wild reindeer habitat is protected through the establishment of national parks, including Rondane and Dovrefjell. Key legislation is the Nature Conservation Act 1970 and the later Nature Diversity Act 2009. National parks in Norway are awarded IUCN category II protection. This is a higher level of protection than Scotland’s national parks which are category VI, which allows resource use (e.g. mineral extraction) other than recreation. Hunting is still permitted but strictly controlled. There are also regulations restricting human activity including outdoor recreation and the use of vehicles on uncultivated land and ice- covered watercourses, particularly in protected areas.
· Management of wild reindeer
The management of wild reindeer is fairly complex, involving both the public and private sectors (see Figure 5). At the highest level, it falls under a branch of government called the Ministry of the Environment (MD), which has responsibility allocating budgets for reindeer management and for making sure that legislation enacted by government is being carried out. At a local level, the role of the County Governor’s local Environmental Protection Department (FM) is to ensure that local developments do not impinge on the reindeer.
There are nine public sector-run wild reindeer boards representing the 23 wild reindeer areas. These are concerned with population management of reindeer and act as official
consultative body in relevant planning cases. The board decide on where reindeer can be
hunted and in establishing hunting quotas, as well as acting as spokesperson for the wild reindeer.
The wild reindeer committee (private sector) is concerned with day-to-day management of
land occupied by wild reindeer and is made up of stakeholders including land owners, local community members and associations. The committee oversees hunting, managing reindeer habitat, contributes to local management plans for reindeer populations, as well as acting as go-between for land owners and the local authorities.
In addition to the state and privately run bodies, there is the voluntary wild reindeer council, which is made up of representatives from both the board and committee and deals with
issues of mutual interest.
Figure 5: Structure for managing wild reindeer populations
· Habitat restoration in a reindeer area at Hjerkinn
Along with efforts to conserve reindeer through establishing hunting quotas and restrictions on developments in protected areas, large-scale reindeer habitat restoration is being carried out at Hjerkinn in Dovrefjell National Park. This area is currently undergoing restoration as an area for nature and wildlife conservation and has been developed as a visitor attraction.
The Hjerkinn Artillery Firing Range was established in 1923 and used by the German army throughout WW2. From 1950 onwards Hjerkinn became the largest Norwegian military training area in the south of Norway. The total area in use was 165km2.The last munitions were dropped in 2008, and since this time large-scale restoration work has been undertaken, with the aim of restoring of the alpine ecosystem. This has involved the removal of 90km of roads, demolition of 70 buildings and removal of explosives and other remnant material. This work was considered dangerous enough to warrant the use of remote- controlled excavators. So far, the project has removed:
• 14,000 unexploded fire heads
• 460 tons of iron remnants
• 413 m3 of wooden waste
• 133 m3 of other waste
Figure 6: Road removal and succession of alpine flora between 2002 and 2010 (NINA, no date)
This work has been carried out by Forsvarsbygg and will continue until 2020. Along with the engineering works, experts are involved in longer-term habitat restoration and monitoring the response of the ecosystem to the restoration works.
Norway has a long history of hunting and managing reindeer as resource, and this is seen as an important part of both the Norwegian and Sami cultures. Increased hunting pressure has led to a decline in the wild reindeer population, and the Norwegian government has sought to manage wild reindeer populations more sustainably. Interestingly, and in contrast with approaches to conservation management in the United Kingdom that would typically legislate against the harvesting of threatened species, Norway has continued to hunt reindeer by way of introducing of strict hunting quotas. For Norwegians, hunting is part of daily life and a used as a management tool. Public interest in conserving species such as reindeer appears to be high, though perhaps motivated by hunting interests rather than a desire to protect a species for its cultural significance or intrinsic value.
Discussion on Beaver management techniques in Norway and
Eddie Anderson, Scottish Wildlife Trust
I applied for the trip to gain an insight into how Norway manages their beaver (Castor fiber) population. I am directly involved with beaver management in Scotland with a focus on the population in the East of the country. The current situation in Scotland sees Scottish Government yet to announce if the Scottish populations of beaver can remain, and how they are to be managed, in the interim period I am keen to gain experience of which methods of management are used where and why. In the area of Norway that we visited beavers appear not to be too much of an issue from a land management aspect, where they create and issue, they tend to be controlled via lethal control. Considering the extensive land mass of Norway, available beaver habitat, and a population of around 70000 animals, it’s not surprising that beavers are managed in this manner. Following my return to Scotland I was able to carry out some research that informed me that although lethal control is used in Norway predominantly, it was not the only method and that Scotland may be able to learn from Norwegians as we move forward with our own beaver reintroduction.
Beavers as a keystone species
Beavers are considered a Keystone species due to their ability to provide habitat and refuge for a myriad of other species by changing the landscape through damming water courses and felling riparian woodland. Their dams create deep slow moving pools which can provide habitat for birds, mammals and invertebrates and can also act as nursery pools for juvenile fish. The felling of trees can promote growth through regeneration and alter the structure of riparian woodland canopy by stressing certain tree species such as Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and Birch (Betula) species, this stressing promotes seed production in certain species, and can help create denser riparian canopy which in turn provides increased leaf litter to the water course and an increase of invertebrates dropping into the water. This provides an important food source for young fish species such as brown trout (Salmo trutta) and Salmon (Salmo salar) fry and smolts. Further to the benefit to diversity, there is growing evidence that the activities of beaver may help to slow water run-off from hillsides which can have a positive effect in areas prone to flooding. This is achieved by levelling the peaks and troughs of water levels during periods of localised flooding which in turn gives a more even discharge into larger water courses. With water being slowed in beaver pools there is much more opportunity for suspended solids within the water to settle, the same is true for agricultural nitrates with the beaver dams and increased dead wood in the water acting as filters. All of this has the potential to improve the water quality that is finally discharged into our seas and oceans. This is just a small example of how the presence of beaver within our water bodies can help to restore the diversity and health of Scotland’s water courses.
Conflict in Scotland
Already we have seen much conflict between agricultural land use and the presence of beavers, this conflict has been mostly focused in the Strathmore valley within Tayside which is predominantly agricultural land. Only 8% of Scotland can be considered ‘prime agricultural land’ that’s to say that this 8% is classed as Land capable of supporting Arable Agriculture (Class 1 to Class 3.1) by the James Hutton Institute; it’s understandable that farmers are concerned by the reintroduction of beavers, and demonstrates why the legislation that is finally put in place must take into consideration the interests of food production within Scotland. This conflict has led to beavers being shot at inappropriate times of year leaving depended young without lactating mothers, although it must be stressed that this appears to be happening only on a few large farms within Perthshire and Angus Without a decision on their future and legislation in place to control the management of Scotland’s beavers, there is great potential for further culling and breaches to animal welfare laws. Many miles of riparian trees and hedgerows have been removed in Strathmore by farmers in an attempt to discourage beavers from taking up residency, this is regrettable and further fragments habitats by removing what sparse wildlife corridors there were. Forestry has also experienced conflict during the official beaver reintroduction at Knapdale where a forestry road was flooded and access had to be re-routed, this an example of what may happen in other areas of Scotland as beavers expand in population size.
Scottish and Norwegian beaver management
Norway’s beaver were almost hunted to extinction by the 18th century due to much the same reasons as elsewhere in Europe and Asia, for meat, their pelt, and castoreum for medicinal and perfumery industries. As early as 1845 Norway’s beavers have enjoyed protection that now sees strict quotas set each year on the numbers that can be hunted. These quotas are granted to landowners and numbers to be hunted depend on the area of suitable beaver habitat owned by each landowner. Currently, Norway’s beaver population is around 70000 animals, which is considerably greater than Scotland’s estimated 400, Scotland could cope with far higher densities though, albeit with caveats. An estimated 48% of Norway’s land mass could be considered suitable beaver habitat, Scotland unfortunately does not have nearly the same extent of what can be considered suitable beaver habitat due to a smaller land mass and a lower density of suitable riparian woodland. It’s likely that there will be areas in Scotland where beavers simply can’t be tolerated, low lying flood plains where land managers have invested time and resources into draining land for agriculture is particularly susceptible due to beavers damming drainage ditches, often this can be managed by use of devices such as flow regulators that control water depth behind beaver dams, but it’s likely in many areas that beaver will have to be removed to be relocated, or dispatched. Electric fencing can be employed to deter beavers from cropped areas with beaver not returning for some months even once the fences have been removed, individual trees can be wrapped with a wire mesh, and stands of trees can be fenced off; but it’s as yet unclear who will be liable for the costs associated with such management in Scotland with farmers looking for compensation if such works are required on their land. Land owners in Norway do not qualify for compensation due to the effects of having beaver on their property, but they are able to apply for licencing to remove beaver structures or entire families if they are causing flooding damage.
Flooding caused by beavers
Twenty four European countries have engaged in beaver reintroductions and many of the aforementioned management techniques have been used which have been successful in varying degrees, this willingness to tolerate beavers rather than simply exclude them has undoubtedly come as a result of the European Habitats Directive which offers protection for beavers within EU countries. Norway is not subject to this directive and due to the density of beavers in Norway they are able to manage them through hunting which is a popular pastime in Norway. There are two fundamentals in the Norwegian wildlife act of 1981 that allow us to better understand beaver management in Norway; all wildlife in Norway is publically owned, this leads to an aim to increase biodiversity while producing a harvestable surplus, and the hunting rights are granted to the landowner. The landowner may choose to exercise his right to hunt himself, or rent the hunting rights to others. This turns the beaver into a resource to be responsibly exploited while producing an income, and allows the public to enjoy hunting opportunities and use the meat or pelt.
In countries belonging to the EU beavers are usually managed in a far more reactionary manner only when beaver/human conflict arises. Beavers are not hunted in many EU countries where the focus has been on re-establishing populations, this has resulted in non- lethal management being employed and often the focus has been on trapping and relocating problem beavers to more suitable areas. As the populations have grown in France and Germany for example, so have the conflicts. Beavers are increasingly moving into farmed areas and urban waterways which is causing conflict and also cause rifts between those that manage land, and those that believe the potential ecological benefits outweigh the negatives.
In Scotland the management techniques used to control beavers and how these are regulated are yet to be announced, but what has become apparent is the reintroduction of beavers is a controversial subject with much apposing support on both sides of the argument. It’s perhaps fortunate that the unauthorised release of beavers in Scotland happened in a highly productive area of agriculture; this will have focused the Environment minister’s attention on conflict and will perhaps produce legislation that satisfies the farming community and lead to beavers being accepted in greater densities in upland areas. Environmentalists and special interest groups in Scotland have clashed with a small number of farmers in the Strathmore area and are keen to see the translocation of problematic beavers that have settled in heavily managed areas. The official government endorsed reintroduction at Knapdale served to demonstrate how beavers can impact on areas of forestry and designated areas of special scientific interest and protected areas, while the unofficial release has forced the government to become involved in the monitoring of beavers within highly productive agricultural land. As a result of the unofficial Tayside population the methods and devices used to manage beavers in other countries are already being used in Scotland, these methods and devices have been installed predominately on private property where the presence of beavers have potentially threatened property, but have also been used with success within forested areas, and to protect infrastructure such
as roads and railways. In the majority of these instances the land owners have displayed a positive attitude towards the presence of beavers, and have been keen to learn more about the benefits of having beaver back in Scotland’s landscapes. It’s unfortunate that the farming communities have not been more proactive where non-lethal management is concerned, opting rather to shoot problematic beavers. Trialling of non-lethal methods at this stage on farm land would undoubtedly lead to more workable legislation being produced in relation to beaver/farming conflicts.
Challenges facing Norwegian Beaver management
Despite Norway having a large beaver population, and having always had a population of beavers, the management of beavers remains problematic. Awareness of the benefits of beaver remains low in Norway, and it’s debatable whether current levels of hunting does enough to achieve the aims of the management programme of controlling numbers to raise biodiversity while providing the surplus that’s required to satisfy the Norwegians like of hunting.
In remote areas of Norway beavers can often exist without any need for management, and where landowners fall foul of the law by removing dams and lodges or shooting beavers out with the beaver season, often an unawareness of the law is the reason. Much work needs to be done to raise awareness of the role beavers play as a keystone species before acceptance of them as a legitimate member of the ecosystem. An example of this is a course offered to foresters by the Norwegian Federation of Foresters that attempts to educate foresters on how to raise the biodiversity of the forests they manage, beavers feature heavily in this course.
One area that may improve acceptance and awareness is to try and make beaver more appealing as a resource that can bring revenue to landowners, quite often quotas are missed or are not issued at all, this results in beaver being removed only once they become a nuisance, this is often done outwith season and has the potential to impact negatively from a welfare point of view. Dealing with beavers in this manner is also expensive and creates no revenue for the land owner.
Another aspect of beaver management in Norway that has drawn criticisms from an animal welfare aspect is the season selected. Most beavers are hunted in the late stages of spring and this practice has led to many females being shot in the late stages of pregnancy. Pelts are also in a poorer condition in spring with the optimum time to hunt beaver for pelt being the coldest periods of winter. In many areas of Norway it’s difficult to hunt beaver in winter due to the harsh elements. Some environmentalists are calling for the season to be moved to late summer, with many land owners preferring late autumn.
How Scotland proceeds with the reintroduction of beavers remains to be seen. A decision has yet to be reached by the Scottish Government, and the result of the EU In-Out referendum may impact on beaver management in the future. What is clear is that through public consultation the people living in Scotland have overwhelmingly indicated that they favour a reintroduction to bring back beavers to our ecosystems. As far back as 1998 public opinion has favoured a reintroduction with a consultation conducted by SNH returning
68% of a passive public being favour, and 86% of a pro-active public being favour. In 2004 a consultation organised by the Scottish Economic Policy Network found that not only were
72% of people in favour, there was an acceptance that each household would be willing to pay £24 (average) to fund a pilot reintroduction. Despite this acceptance from the public,
there has been reluctance from the NFUS, fisheries organisations, and land owners/managers involved in these practices.
Much the same as Norway we must ensure that both the general public and the land managers are sufficiently aware of the ecological benefits of beavers, and of the methods used in other countries to manage and control populations. Well drafted legislation will reassure land managers, but how management is financed will be a major factor of whether legislation is accepted and adhered to. It’s unlikely that the Scottish Government will be in a position to compensate landowners for damages incurred through beaver activity given current government policy of austerity. Non-lethal management can be expensive, but if Scotland is to see the ecological benefits of beaver reintroduction, it’s important that tried and tested methods are adopted as a norm. It’s highly unlikely that hunting beaver in Scotland will become the norm other than for population control some way in to the future, trapping and relocating problematic beavers would be welcomed by many conservation organisations, but how this is managed and monitored would be difficult, finding landowners other than owners of nature reserves willing to accommodate beavers will prove challenging.
Where a reserve owned by RSPB or SWT, for example, who are keen to welcome beavers to certain reserves, there is a responsibility to consider that beavers will breed and disperse. Landowners must be aware of their neighbours land management practices and how beavers will impact on them. The SWT reserve Loch of the Lowes in Perthshire have had beavers present since 2012, initially they were resident on the reserve but moved to a neighbouring site owned by Atholl Estates, while the estate was willing to tolerate the beavers, a flow device had to be installed to control flooding to a driveway of a house on the estate, this was done at the expense of Atholl Estates. A similar situation exists at the RSPB site Kinnordy loch where beavers have been present for several years, damming activity here has to be closely monitored to ensure water levels are not raised to a point where ground nesting wader habitats are put at risk, the Gairie Burn which Kinnordy discharges to has also seen beaver activity that has seen trees felled and left vulnerable on a popular local walk, this has led to an outlay to Kinnordy Estate to ensure the public are kept safe. A farmer further downstream has unfortunately been shooting any dispersers trying to populate their land. It’s clear that in order to benefit from the beaver, we are going to have to see a change in how Scotland considers wildlife in our countryside, cooperation and understanding will be paramount with relations between beaver managers and landowners having to be one of compromise; often an area on farm land that a beaver finds appealing is an area that historically has been wetland and as such less favourable from an agricultural point of view, farmers will have to consider sacrificing these small areas in order to reap the benefits such as water retention that can help flooding, water filtration of nitrates that can improve the quality of the water flowing from their farmland, and also pools that the farmer may be able to use for irrigation purposes. Similarly conservationists and beaver managers must understand that beavers will take up residency in wholly unsuitable areas that simply can’t be tolerated, in these instances management may be possible to allow them to stay, but in may very well be the case that the beavers will have to be removed. Hopefully they can be relocated to a suitable area, but Scotland has a relatively small land mass compared to the likes of Norway, and we will one day reach saturation leading to lethal control and possibly culling to control numbers.
A Comparison of Monitoring and Management for Capercaillie in
Scotland and Norway
Gareth Marshall, RSPB Scotland, SNH, FCS
Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) are the largest grouse species in the world. Typically they are birds of boreal climax forest and have a wide global distribution that matches this: across northern Europe to eastern Russia, with small fragmented populations in the high forests of central and southern Europe. Although globally categorised as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List, populations are in widespread decline across their range and in some countries are now endangered, legally protected and their conservation is of high priority.
In Scotland, at the far west of their global range, capercaillie went extinct as a native species in the late 18th century, believed to be as a result of habitat loss and hunting. After several failed attempts, birds from Sweden were successfully reintroduced in the 1830s, a time of intensive predator control for game shooting, and this population thrived and expanded. By the 1970s it was crudely estimated that there were approximately 20000 capercaillie in Scotland, covering a wide range from Argyll and Fife in the south to Sutherland in the north. However, during the 1980s and 90s the population crashed to between 1000 and 2000 birds and the range contracted into a core area centred on the Cairngorms National Park. Significant management has been undertaken to slow this dramatic decline and although the population’s range has continued to contract the number of birds has remained relatively stable for the last 20 years. Although protected under UK law through Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), which made it an offence to disturb breeding capercaillie, they were still shot for sport into the 1990s until the shooting community implemented a voluntary ban. Capercaillie were eventually legally removed from the quarry list of game species in 2004. Under EU law, capercaillie are listed under Annex 1 of the Birds Directive and in Scotland 11 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are designated with them as a qualifying interest.
Relative to Scotland, Norway has an abundance of capercaillie, but despite this they are in long-term decline across their global range. Culturally, hunting is a much more important part of the Norwegian lifestyle than in the UK and capercaillie are still popularly hunted as a small game species. Monitoring population trends is an integral part of the Norwegian’s responsible approach to hunting and as such the number of birds harvested is a relatively reliable index of population size and change, with larger bags in years with more capercaillie and smaller bags in poorer years. The mean annual harvest was 10503 capercaillie between 2005-2015, meaning that the Norwegian population is large enough that on average ten times the whole Scottish population can be harvested each year, without causing significant population impacts.
Figure 1 – Total number of capercaillie killed each hunting season in Norway, 2005 – 2015. (Statistics Norway, 2016)
Population monitoring is crucial for endangered species as it provides the data on which management decisions are based. For game species it is also vital for informing sustainable harvest sizes.
In Scotland, two survey methods are used for population monitoring: 6-yearly national surveys and annual lek counts. The 6-yearly national surveys are jointly funded by RSPB and SNH and use a Distance sampling method over approximately 700 2km line transects to estimate population densities. These can then be extrapolated into a national population. The lek counts are co-ordinated by the Capercaillie Project Officer, a position jointly funded by RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland, and involve counting the number of cock (male) capercaillie displaying at leks each year. Although they only provide a ‘snapshot’ of attendance on the morning that each lek is counted, a significant amount of surveying takes place each year to find new or moving leks so there is relatively accurate national coverage. While the national survey provides a statistically significant estimate of the entire population every 6 years the lek counts provide a useful annual index of change on a site-by-site basis. A third survey method known as brood counting is used to estimate the productivity of capercaillie at a small number of sites each year by counting the number of dependent young per hen in late July and early August, thus providing a ratio of chicks per hen.
In Norway there are also two methods for monitoring population trends but these use quite different methods to Scotland and are for a different purpose. These methods are a national compilation of hunting records and a multi-agency voluntary grouse population survey, hosted online at a website called Honsefugl Portalen (Grouse Portal). Neither of these are specifically for capercaillie but for all small game species: willow ptarmigan (red grouse in Scotland), rock ptarmigan, black grouse and capercaillie. Population monitoring is therefore carried out to inform bag sizes for harvesting rather than to monitor responses to conservation effort. Because the Norwegian capercaillie population is very large and spread across the whole country both these methods are based on samples that provide indexes of change, rather than full national coverage.
All hunters in Norway have to apply for a hunting permit from the Norwegian Environment Agency and must return a full record of species and numbers killed each year. This huge dataset is compiled and made available to the public via Statistics Norway, the national
statistics bureau, and can be interrogated to investigate a huge range of temporal and spatial trends. The number of capercaillie shot each year can be assumed to crudely represent an index of population size. This can then be standardised to account for differences explained by differences in hunting effort from year to year or site to site by combining the numbers of hunting permits granted each year. Gregerson & Gregerson (2009) used this data to calculate the catch-per-unit-effort for capercaillie, black grouse and hazel grouse in order to track the ongoing population declines and range contraction, showing that there were larger declines in numbers of birds shot in western coastal counties than eastern continental counties.
The second monitoring method uses a Distance sampling method to estimate population densities, similar to the Scottish national survey. The Honsefugl Portalen project began in
2013 and is run by a consortium of researchers, state bodies and land owners. During
August line transects are walked by a surveyor and pointing dogs and the flushing distance of small game species perpendicular to the line are recorded. By using a minimum sample
size of 40 observations per 70km of transect it is possible to create a mathematical model
that predicts the distance from the line within which it is assumed that all birds are observed, which can be translated into a density of birds. This data can be used to form the basis of hunting management (e.g. numbers that can be shot each year), but as the datasets grow over time they will provide information on population trends in the face of climate and other environmental change.
In Scotland, knowing how many capercaillie are present allows conservation management to be targeted and a means to see how populations respond to management. In Norway it allows a sustainable number to be harvested each year without having detrimental effects on the overall population. Presumably, if the Norwegian population were to undergo significant declines like in Scotland the monitoring currently in place would track the decline and suitable decisions about hunting and conservation management would be made.
In Scotland, population modelling suggested that if the decline continued at the same rate as it was during 1980s and 90s then capercaillie would be extinct by 2014 (Moss, 2001). This alarming rate of decline prompted a huge amount of management effort to start in the late
1990s and this continues today. This effort resulted in slowing the decline and the national population size has now been relatively stable for at least a decade. Protecting this
population and trying to expand it is still a major priority for Scottish conservation. Management interventions focus on practical forest management to create and expand suitable habitat, the marking or removal of deer fences that pose collision risks, the legal
control of foxes and crows to minimise predation and attempts to minimise disturbance by humans around breeding sites. Millions of pounds have been spent to try to save the
capercaillie and in the few areas where it remains, the birds, their habitat and the human use of the forest habitat are all heavily monitored. The presence of capercaillie has a major
influence on the way forests can be managed and the Capercaillie Project Officer’s post provides advice and support for best-practice management and to minimise disturbances in breeding areas.
In contrast with Scotland, in Norway there is very little specific land management for capercaillie. Although the population is in decline it is still large enough to allow a sustainable harvest and therefore it is not necessary to change land management practices specifically to benefit the species. The main obvious difference between the two countries that creates this situation is the wildly differing amount of forest cover: In 2013, Scotland had approximately 14000 km2 of forest cover (ScotGov, 2015) of which only a small proportion is suitable as habitat for capercaillie. In contrast, Norway has approximately 323000 km2 of forest cover (Satistics Norway, 2016), of which the majority is suitable for capercaillie. This
huge difference in habitat availability undoubtedly goes a long way to explaining the differences in population size and trends between the two countries.
Despite this, capercaillie and other woodland grouse are in decline in Norway. Norwegians are aware that practical management may be needed if capercaillie are to remain on the quarry list in the long-term and significant research is underway to investigate the reasons for the decline. Habitat is afforded some protection under the Norsk PEFC Skogstandard, the national forestry standard (PEFC, 2015). This requires forest owners to check for the presence of leks on their land before felling and then modify felling plans depending on habitat type if present. In circumstances that would endanger a lek and not leave suitable habitat for it to re-establish, felling is not recommended. Another form of protection comes from the widely enforced ‘leash law’ that requires all dogs to be kept on leads in and around areas where woodland grouse and other game species breed from April 1st to August 20th. Failure to comply with this rule is punishable by a system of fines.
Scotland only has a fraction of the forest cover of Norway and therefore populations of capercaillie, a species dependent on large areas of mature coniferous forest, are much healthier in Norway than in Scotland. Because of this, capercaillie populations are closely monitored in Scotland in order to track responses to conservation management while in Norway monitoring generally occurs in order to inform hunting bags. The few remaining Scottish capercaillie forests are protected and heavily monitored and managed while Norway requires less intervention. Despite the large population size, capercaillie are in decline in Norway and across their global range and this is recognised in the national forest strategy, dog handling law and wildlife management research.
Wildlife management in Norway- Hunting
Marcin Baranski, Forestry Commission Scotland
Hunting in Norway is intertwined in the fabric of the society, with one of the highest number of hunters per capita in Europe. It’s a popular recreation, widely accepted by the public. A total of 143 000 persons went hunting in the hunting year 2014/2015.
This is compilation of information gathered during the trip as well as Internet searches, showing outlines of the system as well as some statistics regarding hunters as well as species being hunted in Norway. In general it has been really refreshing to see hunting being generally accepted as valid conservation tool, allowing sustainable use of the natural resources. Marked difference in acceptance of hunting between Norway and most countries in Europe shows, in my opinion that Norwegian model has been successful in both nature conservation as well as cultivating connection between modern society and nature. Hunting is not being perceived as a pursuit of selected few, but as a common man activity, it is affordable and accessible. There are obviously differences in opinion within Norway, people having different views, objectives but the system has been developed and it is widely accepted as compromise. Wise use of natural resources, be it by hunting for venison or widespread use of firewood keeps population connected to the natural environment in much more intimate way than in other European countries. Hence better understanding and acceptance of traditional rural pursuits and industries.
At a national level, 6 per cent of the male population went hunting during the hunting year
2014/2015. The share of hunters is higher in rural areas than in urban areas and in the cities. In some rural municipalities more than 40 per cent of the male population over 16 years old go hunting. Among the male population in Oslo and Bergen, only 3 per cent went hunting.
In the last hunting year, 6.3 per cent (8900) of the hunters were women. In total, 5.5 per cent of the small game hunters were women.
|2014-2015||2013-2014 – 2014-2015|
|Number of hunters||Per cent|
|Hunted, in total||142 850||2.5|
|Small game hunting||87 760||6.1|
|Grouse hunting||49 650||10.1|
|Hunting on cervids||92 860||0.9|
|Moose hunting||61 220||-0.1|
|Red deer hunting||45 350||2.6|
|Wild reindeer hunting||10 610||8.2|
|Roe deer hunting||40 370||2.3|
New hunters must pass a proficiency test. Anyone who is resident in Norway and planning to hunt for the first time must take a hunting proficiency test. They must follow an obligatory 30- hour course and take a theory test. The courses are arranged by adult education associations, and the municipalities hold the electronic tests and issue certificates to candidates who have followed the course and passed the test. There is a fee for the course and test. The minimum age for hunting alone is 16 years for small game and 18 years for large game.
Land in Norway is either state-owned or private. Landowners have the sole hunting and trapping rights on their land. State-owned land is classified either as common land or “other state-owned land”. Common land is a feature of southern Norway, from Nord-Trøndelag to the south; other state-owned land is primarily in northern Norway.
All small-game and wild reindeer hunting on state-owned common land is reserved for persons who have resided in Norway for the past year and are still resident. However, anyone, including non-resident foreign nationals, may apply for permits to hunt elk, red deer, roe deer and beaver.
The Directorate for State Forests and Land is responsible for this hunting and the processing of applications. Persons who have resided in Norway for the past year and are still resident have an equal right to engage in small-game hunting without a dog. People who are not local residents are now permitted to engage in both small-game hunting with a dog and wild reindeer hunting on many areas of common land. Persons who have resided for the past year in the municipality where the common land concerned is situated, and still reside there, nevertheless have first priority to such hunting. Municipal Common Land Boards have responsibility for small-game and wild reindeer hunting on common land.
Other state-owned land Norwegians and all persons who have resided in Norway for the past year and are still resident are permitted to engage in small-game hunting and trapping
on other kinds of state-owned land, which are mostly found in the three northernmost
counties. Foreign nationals not resident in Norway can apply for permission to hunt small and big game. The Directorate for State Forests and Land is responsible for this hunting and
the processing of applications.
Owners of private land may, individually or jointly, let their hunting rights to others, including foreign nationals. The best access to small-game hunting on private land is normally in areas where the sale of hunting permits has been organised through landowners’
associations or local hunting and fishing societies. Hunting rights for small game in a given area can be hired out exclusively for longer or shorter periods, but this is more expensive than the ordinary sale of hunting permits.
Land bordering on bodies of water
On rivers and lakes, the hunting and trapping rights of a landowner extend as far as his or her property rights. Bordering on the sea or a fjord, they extend to the limit of dry land. Norwegians and all persons who have resided in Norway for the past year and are still resident are permitted to engage in hunting, trapping and shooting beyond this limit, and generally also on shoals and skerries submerged at normal high tide. The Governor of the respective county may in individual cases give foreign nationals not resident in Norway permission to engage in such hunting.
There are two main methods of hunting moose:
· Dog on the leash -The dog is also used on a leash. In this mode of hunting, the dog leads the hunter in the direction of the moose while keeping quiet.
· Dog is free ranging – The dog hunt independently, it tracks down and holds the moose at bay—jumping in and out toward the moose, distracting its attention,
while signalling to the hunters by barking very loudly until the hunter who follows
the sound can arrive to shoot it. The dog will only bark while the moose is stationary, but it can also slowly drive the moose towards shooters lying in wait.
Various breeds are being used with dominant one being Norwegian Elkhound. A total of
31 100 moose were shot during the hunting year 2015/2016; a decrease of 2 000 animals
from the previous hunting year.
|Moose felled. Preliminary figures Published 18 March 2016|
|Number||Share||Change in per cent|
Source: Statistics Norway
In total, a felling quota of 40 700 animals was issued, which is a decrease of 2 600 animals
from the previous hunting year. The hunting success rate was 76 per cent.
Among the cervid species, moose hunting is the most common. A total of 61 200 hunters
participated in the moose hunt during the 2014/2015 hunting season.
In total, about 6 500 wild reindeer were shot during the hunting season in 2015; which is about 1 400 animals fewer than the season before.
|Wild reindeer felled: Published 16 December 2015|
|Number||Share||Change, per cent|
|2014 – 2015||2011 – 2015|
Source: Statistics Norway
Statistics on wild reindeer hunters in 2015 will be published next year. However, 10 600 hunters hunted wild reindeer in the autumn of 2014; an increase of 800 from the year before.
Small game and Roe deer shooting
A total of 222 000 grouse were shot in the hunting year 2014/2015; an increase of 47 per
cent from the previous hunting year.
|Number of roe deer and selected small game species harvested Published 11 August
|2014-2015||2013-2014 – 2014-
|2009-2010 – 2014-
|Willow Ptarmigan||140 000||40.2||27.0|
|Black Grouse||20 120||37.6||-23.2|
|Wood Pigeon||39 960||-8.5||-29.7|
|Mountain Hare||17 560||13.4||-14.0|
|Red fox||22 440||4.6||4.0|
|Roe deer||26 590||3.4||-13.6|
In total, 140 000 willow grouse and 82 000 ptarmigan were shot, representing an increase of
40 and 60 per cent respectively. The yield increased in all counties. Willow grouse and ptarmigan are the most important small game species in Norway. The annual harvesting of
grouse has declined from over half a million in the hunting year 1999/2000 to 120 000 in the
hunting year 2012/2013, which was a record low. The reason for this huge decline can be attributed to several factors. In the last two hunting years, the grouse bag has, however, increased. A total of 9 000 capercaillie and 20 000 black grouse were shot in 2014/2015. The yield of capercaillie increased by 24 per cent, while the harvest of black grouse rose by 38 per cent. In total, 26 600 roe deer were shot; an increase of 900 animals from the previous hunting year. Wood pigeon is one of the most frequently harvested small game species in Norway. In total, 40 000 wood pigeons were shot last hunting year. In each of the counties of Akershus and Hedmark approximately 7 500 were shot.
Use of dogs in Deer hunting
For moose, red deer and roe deer, both hunting parties and individuals hunting alone are required to have a trained dog available to locate animals that have been shot, but not found. If such a dog is not present while the hunting is in progress, written agreement must be obtained ensuring the viability of such a dog within a reasonable time after the quarry has fallen. The local authority may require documentation showing compliance with these conditions.
Lynne Clark, Scottish Natural Heritage
Overall, I think I can speak for us all by saying we had an interesting, informative and memorable trip. There are several similarities between Scottish and Norwegian management, as have been outlined in this report.
The major differences lie in the way the land is managed and the way hunting is an ingrained part of the Norwegian culture. This is distinctively different from Scotland’s current management and shooting practices and there are aspects of the Norwegian management schemes that could be applicable and beneficial to Scotland. The vast array of trees that greeted us upon our arrival was a real treat to those that work in Forestry and vastly different to the moorland landscapes we’re used to in Scotland.
Learning about the way Norwegian’s manage conflicts relating to the big carnivores was interesting and although the species differ, many of the issues relating to land use practices, particularly farming, were similar to those we experience in Scotland. Visiting the Dovrefjell and Rondane national parks provided an insight into the largely successful (thus far) arctic fox breeding station at Oppdal and the challenges and issues of managing such large and wide-ranging Reindeer herds.
Having spent the day at the Forestry museum we were all better informed about a variety of Norwegian practices including forestry, nature and hunting and fishing as well as photosynthesis and tree growth from the new and impressive exhibition (shown on page 26). Visiting a project trialling different methods, including fencing, diversionary feeding and chemical deterrents, to prevent moose browsing, provided a comparison with practices which could be used for managing deer in Scotland.
We all agreed that we learnt as much from each other as we did from the various lecturers and students that we met. The lectures that we received were informative, interesting and we were all impressed with the breadth of knowledge the students had on wildlife management both in Norway and Scotland.
The ERASMUS+ Arch Network programme has provided an excellent opportunity for broadening our understanding of natural and cultural topics and to learn how wildlife management is undertaken in Norway. As a development and learning opportunity, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Reflections on forestry
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Dudley, N. (ed.) (2008) IUCN Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories. International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Gland. https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/PAG-021.pdf
Follum, Jørn-R. (2007) Innføring i Skogbruk. Skogbrukets Kursintititutt, Biri. Figure 22, page
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Forestry Commission (2015) Forestry Statistics 2015. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/forstats2015.nsf/LUContentsTop?openview&RestrictToC ategory=1
Forestry Commission (2016) Wood Production & Trade – 2015 Provisional Figures. Forestry
Commission, Edinburgh. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/woodproduction1976-
Halley, D. (2016i) Natural Regeneration – the Norwegian Way: a model for Scotland? Pp.12-
14 in: Forestry & Timber News, June 2016, Issue 15. Confederation of Forest Industries
Halley, D. (2016ii) Norwegian Wood, pp.10-14 in: The Nature of Scotland, Spring/Summer
2016. Scottish Natural Heritage, Battleby. https://scotlandsnature.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/norwegian-wood/
Normander, B. et al. (2008). State of Biodiversity in the
Nordic Countries – an assessment of progress towards achieving the target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010. TemaNord/Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen.
Pettersen, J. (2000) Innføring i Skogbruk. Skogbrukets Kursintititutt, Biri. Figure 2, page 11:
‘Volum i norske skogger, historic utvikling og prognose’ [Kilde, NIJOS].
Statskog (2016) Webpage, accessed 29 May 2016: www.statskog.no/en/Sider/About- Statskog.aspx & www.statskog.no/en/Sider/Forestry.aspx Statskog SF [Norwegian state forest land management organisation], Nasmos.
Steven, H.M & Carlisle, A. (1959) The Pinewoods of Scotland. Oliver & Boyd, London. UN FAO (2015i) Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015. United Nations Food &
Agriculture Organisation, Rome. Main report: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4808e.pdf;
UN FAO (2015ii) Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015. United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation, Rome. Norway country report: http://www.fao.org/3/a-az297e.pdf.
UN FAO (2015iii) Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015. United Nations Food &
Agriculture Organisation, Rome. UK country report: http://www.fao.org/3/a-az365e.pdf.
Bjorklund, I., 1990, Sami Reindeer Pastoralism as an Indigenous Resource Management System in Northern Norway: A Contribution to the Common Property Debate, Common Property Conference, the Second Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property, September 26-29, 1991
Jordhøy,P., 2008. Ancient wild reindeer pitfall trapping systems as indicators for former migration patterns and habitat use in the Dovre region, southern Norway Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Rangifer, 28 (1).
Nellemanna, C., Vistnesb, I., Jordhøyc, P., Strand, O., 2001. Winter distribution of wild reindeer in relation to power lines, roads and resorts. Norway Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Biological Conservation 101 (2001) 351–360.
Nellemanna, C., Vistnesb, I., Jordhøyc, P., Strand, O., 2003. Progressive impact of piecemeal infrastructure development on wild reindeer, Norway Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Biological Conservation 113 (2003) 307–317.
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(Villrein, nodate2) Wild reindeer in 2030. Available at: http://www.villrein.no/wild-reindeer-in-
2030/ [accessed 14/06/2016].
Beaver management techniques
Gregersen, F., & Gregersen, H. (2009). Ongoing population decline and range contraction in
Norwegian forest grouse. Ornis Norvegica, 32, 179-189
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Conservation, 101(2), 255-257.
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Capercaillie bags: https://www.ssb.no/en/jord-skog-jakt-og-fiskeri/statistikker/srjakt
Hunting in Norway
APPENDIX 1 – Programme and themes for the trip
Monday 23 May 2016
· Arrival at Oslo airport Gardermoen
o Stay at Gardermoen Hotel Bed & Breakfast
Tuesday 24 May 2016
· Marius will pick up the group at the B&B and there will be a 3-4 hour drive to
· Lunch at Evenstad
· Introduction to Campus Evenstad and a short tour to look around
o 13:00: Conflicts with big carnivore (Kristin Gangås)
o 14:00: Becodyn (Kaja Johnsen)
Wednesday 25 May 2016
· Different lectures at campus
o 08:30: Cooperation monitoring grouse (Maruis Krønsberg)
o 10:00: Nest predation – capercaillie and black grouse (Torfinn Jahren)
o 12:00: Wildlife management in Norway (Torstein Storaas)
o 13:00: Wolf predation in Scandinavia (Barbara Zimmermann)
o 14:00: Lynx – Ecology, conflicts and management (Morten Odden)
Thursday 26 May 2016
· 08:00: Presentations from the group to students in wildlife management at campus
· Leaving towards Rondane and Dovrefjell national parks
o Different stops along the route
· Accommodation at Folldal
Friday 27 May 2016
· Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre http://nvs.villrein.no/hjerkinn/
· Excursion to Dovrefjell national park
· Getting back to Evenstad
Saturday 28 May 2016
· Guided tour – bring lunch [fly fishing].
Sunday 29 May 2016
· Visiting the Norwegian Forestry museum http://skogmus.no/
Monday 30 May 2016
· Migrating moose population – Simen Pedersen
· Excursion to Løiten Almenning – forest damage from moose browsing
· Departure from Oslo airport Gardermoen
Themes of study programme
Norwegian forest management
· Land ownership and management
How is land owned? Who owns it? Who is responsible for management hunting etc?
· Deer and moose management
How are they managed? Who does the hunting? How are communities involved? What is hunting/ meat worth? How is the size of culls decided? How is damage
prevented/ managed? How is moose hunting integrated with other land uses?
The impacts they have and how any conflicts are managed. How do beavers and fishing interests co- exist? Are there any problems?
· Salmon, trout and grayling fisheries
What is fishing worth? How are rivers managed for fish? Gyrodactilus and other fish disease issues. Interaction with Beaver.
· Bears, wolves, lynx and wolverine
What benefits do they bring? What conflicts arise and how are they managed? How do people feel about the different species?
· Capercaillie and black grouse
Hunting and habitat management
· Management of smaller animals
E.g. foxes, martens, hares, lemmings
· Musk ox re-introduction
The history of this re-introduction and how successful it has been. Does it raise any conservation/ wildlife management issues?
Sea eagles have been introduced to Eastern Scotland. Are there any raptor conflict issues in Norway? Goshawks, eagle owls etc.
APPENDIX 2: Species list co–ordinated by Daisy Whytock, input from some group members.
|Category||Scientific name||Common name (English)||Common name (Norwegian)||Date||Location|
|Bird||Accipiter nisus||Eurasian sparrowhawk||Spurvehauk||?|
|Bird||Actitis hypoleucos||Common sandpiper||Strandsnipe||Various|
|Bird||Aluada arvensis||Common skylark||Sanglerke||Dovre-fjell national park|
|Bird||Anas crecca||Eurasian teal||Krikkand||Marius’ parents – pond|
|Bird||Anas penelope||Eurasian wigeon||Brunnakke||Marius’ parents – pond|
|Bird||Anser anser||Greylag goose||Grågås||In transit|
|Bird||Anthus pratensis||Meadow pipit||Heipiplerke||Dovre-fjell national park|
|Bird||Anthus trivialis||Tree pipit||Trepiplerke||Pine forests|
|Bird||Apus apus||Common swift||Tånseiler||Various|
|Bird||Ardea cinerea||Grey heron||Gråhegre||Evenstad|
|Bird||Branta canadensis||Canada goose||Kanadagås||Various|
|Bird||Bucephala clangula||Common goldeneye||Kvinand||Various|
|Bird||Circus cyaneus||Hen harrier||Myrhauk||Dovre-fjell national park|
|Bird||Columba palumbus||Common wood pigeon||Ringdue||Various|
|Bird||Corvus corax||Raven||Ravn||Dovre-fjell national park|
|Bird||Corvus cornix||Hooded crow||Kråke||Various|
|Bird||Cuculus canorus||Common cuckoo||Gjøke||Various|
|Bird||Cygnus cygnus||Whooper swan||Sangsvane||Various|
|Bird||Delichon urbica||House martin||Taksvale||Various|
|Bird||Falco tinnunculus||Common kestrel||Tånfalk||Canyon|
|Bird||Ficedula hypoleuca||Pied flycatcher||Starthvit fluesnapper||Evenstad|
|Bird||Fringilla coelebs||Common chaffinch||Bokfink||Various|
|Bird||Garrulus glandiarus||Eurasian Jay||Nøtteskrike||Forestry Museum|
|Bird||Grus grus||Common crane||Trane||Various|
|Bird||Hirundo rustica||Barn swallow||Låvesvale||Various|
|Bird||Larus canus||Common gull||Fiskemåke||Evenstad|
|Bird||Loxia sp.||Crossbill sp.||Grankorsnebb||Pine forests|
|Bird||Mergus merganser||Common merganser||Laksand||Evenstad – Glomma river|
|Bird||Mergus serrator||Red breasted merganser||Siland||Marius’ parents – beaver|
|Bird||Motacilla alba||Pied wagtail||Linerle||Various|
|Bird||Motacilla cinerea||Grey wagtail||Vintererle||Evenstad and Fly-fishing river|
|Bird||Numenius arquata||Eurasian curlew||Storspove||Evenstad|
|Bird||Oenanthe oenanthe||Northern wheatear||Steinskvett||?|
|Bird||Passer domesticus||House sparrow||Graspurv||Various|
|Bird||Phoenicurus phoenicurus||Common redstart||Rødstjert||?|
|Bird||Phylloscopus sibilatrix||Wood warbler||Bøksanger||Forestry Museum|
|Bird||Phylloscopus trochilus||Willow warbler||Løvsanger||Various|
|Bird||Pica pica||Eurasian magpie||Skjære||Various|
|Bird||Pluvialis apricaria||European golden plover||Heilo||Evenstad|
|Bird||Podiceps auritius||Slavonian grebe||Horndykker||Marius parents – pond|
|Bird||Regulus regulus||Goldcrest||Fuglekonge||Forestry museum|
|Bird||Sitta europaea||Nuthatch||Spettemeis||Forestry Museum|
|Bird||Sturnus vulgaris||Common starling||Stær||Various|
|Bird||Sylvia atricapilla||Eurasian blackcap?||Munk||Forestry Museum|
|Bird||Tringa nebularia||Common greenshank||Gluttsnipe||Various|
|Bird||Tringa totanus||Common redshank||Rødstilk||Evenstad|
|Bird||Turdus merula||Common blackbird||Starttrost||Evenstad|
|Bird||Turdus philomelos||Song thrush||Måltrost||Evenstad|
|Bird||Turdus torquatus||Ring ousel?||Ringtrost||Dovre-fjell|
|Bird||Vanellus vanellus||Northern lapwing||Vipe||Evenstad|
|Fish||Salmo trutta||Brown trout||Bækørret||Fly-fishing river|
|Invert||Aglais urticae||Small tortoiseshell butterfly||Sommerfugl||Evenstad|
|Invert||Anthocharis cardamines||Orange tip butterfly||Sommerfugl||Woodland edge/verge|
|Invert||Coccinella 7-punctata||7 spot ladybird||Marihøne||Clear-fell|
|Invert||Formica sp.||Wood ant||Tre maur||Various|
|Invert||Propylea quatuordecimpunctata||14 spot ladybird||Marihøne||Clear-fell|
|Mammal||Alces alces||Moose / Elk||Elg||Hedmark county|
|Mammal||Alopex lagopus||Arctic fox||Fjellrev||?|
|Mammal||Capreolus capreolus||Roe deer||Rådyr||?|
|Mammal||Caster fiber||Beaver||Bever||Marius’ parents|
|Mammal||Cervus elaphus||Red deer||Hjort||Hedmark county|
|Mammal||Ovibos moschatus||Musk ox||Moskus||Dovre-fjell national park|
|Mammal||Sciurus vulgaris||Red squirrel||Ekorn||Forestry Museum|
|Plant||Betula nana||Dwarf birch||Dvergbjørk||Various|
|Plant||Betula pendula||Silver birch||Sølv bjørk||Various|
|Plant||Betula pubescens||Downy birch||Bjørk||Various|
|Plant||Calluna vulgaris||Ling heather||Lyng||Various|
|Plant||Caltha palustris||Marsh marigold||Bekkeblom||Various|
|Plant||Chamerion angustifolium||Rosebay willowherb||Geitrams||Various|
|Plant||Cladonia spp.||Cladonia lichen||Lav||Various|
|Plant||Deschampsia cespitosa||Tufted hairgrass||Sølvebunk||Various|
|Plant||Eriophorum vaginatum||Hare’s-tail cotton grass||Myrull||Various|
|Plant||Fragaria vesca||Wild strawberry||Jordbær||Various|
|Plant||Geum rivale||Water avens||Vann avens||Fly-fishing riverbank|
|Plant||Hylocomium splendens||Glittering wood moss||Mose||Various|
|Plant||Lycopodium annotinum||Interrupted clubmoss||Tronkberget|
|Plant||Molinia caerulea||Purple moor-grass||Lilla moor – gress||Various|
|Plant||Myrica gale||Bog myrtle||Various|
|Plant||Nardus stricta||Mat grass||Matte gress||Various|
|Plant||Oxalis acetosella||Wood sorrel||Tre sorrel||Various|
|Plant||Picea abies||Norway spruce||Norge gran||Various|
|Plant||Pinus sylvestris||Scots pine||Furu||Various|
|Plant||Pleurozium scherberi||Red-stemmed feathermoss||Mose||Various|
|Plant||Polytrichum commune||Star moss||Mose||Fly-fishing area|
|Plant||Prunus padus||Bird cherry||Hegg||Various|
|Plant||Ptilium crista-castrensis||Parrot feather moss||Mose||Evenstad|
|Plant||Racomitrium sp.||Racomitrium sp.||Mose||Various|
|Plant||Rubus idaeas||Wild raspberry||Bringebær||Various|
|Plant||Rumex acetosella||Sheeps sorrel||Småsyre||Various|
|Plant||Sphagnum capillifolium||Sphagnum capillifolium||Mose||Fly-fishing area|
|Plant||Sphagnum cuspidatum||Sphagnum cuspidatum||Mose||Fly-fishing area|
|Plant||Sphagnum fallax||Sphagnum fallax||Mose||Fly-fishing area|
|Plant||Sphagnum squarrosum||Sphagnum squarrosum||Mose||Fly-fishing area|
|Plant||Thuidium tamariscinum||Common tamarisk moss||Mose||Various|