Hunting in Norway is deeply engrained in the country’s history and its culture. This makes replicating its use as a conservation tool difficult for countries, such as Scotland, where hunting is regarded as merely a rich man’s sport. Nevertheless, there is much that Scotland can learn from Norway’s attitude to hunting.
The important role of the mountain forests for ground’s stability has been observed at Dovre National Park. Betula pendula, B. pubescenis, B. nana, Juniperus communis, and Salex spp cover waist area overhead 1000 m above the sea level between stands of coniferous and alpine zone. Roots system holds poor, stony and wet soil and well protects against landslides. The woodland habitat creates much better biodiversity than post-grazing grassland. That is a good example for land management of similar areas in Scotland.
Land management continues to be highly sectorial in Scotland, with different sectors (arable farming, conservation, game management) working in isolation, competing for limited natural resources. This has led to significant land use and human wildlife conflicts, resulting in a culture of distrust among the different stakeholders. In contrast, Norwegian land management is based on a more integrated system, with a greater culture of land stewardship, trust and shared values amongst its stakeholders.
The Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership are based in Perthshire, Scotland. Here, public, private, community and charity partners are working together to connect woodlands across Highland Perthshire. Members of the partnership were recently given the opportunity to visit Norway on a training course developed by ARCH, hosted by Duncan Halley and NINA (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research) and funded through the Erasmus+ programme.
Feedback from Nathan Berrie, NET4: “One fundamental difference
between Norwegians and many Scots is the social
and cultural significance of nature. Throughout our
time in Norway it became apparent that most
Norwegians have spent much of their life outdoors
from a young age. it is through these early life interactions
with nature that Norwegians are creating
generations of environmental stewards. From our
experience in Norway it became clear that nature
was a normal part of being a Norwegian citizen and
as a result their approach to outdoor enjoyment is
arguably more sustainable than in Scotland.
I found myself drawn to as the week went on was the story of the history of landownership and land use in Latvia, the way in which forestry plays an important role in the economy of the country and how the people of Latvia interact with the woodland and wildlife in their country. I found it particularly thought provoking how that history has shaped the habitats and ecosystems that exist and how they function. (Alison Austin)
While the vast majority of the land is under some form of management and is modified nature conservation and natural heritage interests appeared to be in a relatively healthy state. During the visit we were largely engaged with consideration of wildlife management for economic purposes (even in relation to protected species including large carnivores), we were able to consider wider ecosystem health and the role that played in maintaining healthy populations of different wildlife species