Capercaillie in Vosges. Joint Report The exchange was hosted by Arnaud Hurstel of Groupe Tetras Vosges (GTV) in France. The purpose of the trip was to look at the status of the capercaillie population in the Vosges Mountains and the LIFE project “Forests for Capercaillie in the Vosges”. We visited several capercaillie sites, including Special Protection […]
There is currently considerable interest in re-introducing the European Beaver (Castor fiber) back to Scotland, reflected in the reintroduction trial that is currently taking place in Knapdale Forest in Argyll, and public reaction to the population of beavers on Tayside that have arisen from escapes from private collections. Archnetwork secured funding via the Leonardo da […]
Ann-Marie MacMaster, Rivers and Fisheries Trusts for Scotland (RAFTS) Beaver typically build dams in shallow burns or streams (rather than large, deep rivers) in order to raise the water level so that they can swim, feed, cache food and enter the lodge in relative safety. The impressive engineering skills of the beaver together with materials […]
Our introduction to Park Narodowy Ujście Warty (Warta Mouth National Park) was that of a grey polder landscape at early dawn that was more audible than visible. We could hear the distant sounds of geese and, the reason for being there at that hour, cranes. Standing on one of the dikes, which signified the polder landscape, we counted up to 1200 cranes in the coming hours. While the relatively small flocks of cranes flew over, unaware of the fact that they were being recorded…
Our Slovenian host Bojan had arranged for a cultural exchange evening where three ladies from the Society of Rural Women volunteered to teach four of us how to cook traditional Slovenian dishes, while three more were taught by the remaining three Scots how to make traditional Scottish dishes. This all went smoothly and during this hour, the wonderful ladies from the Society of Rural Women had been busy putting together the final touches for the meal and were ready right on cue to bring out the food. We took it in turn to stand with our respective teacher/pupil to talk through the dish produced – Gordon gave a brilliant introduction to the haggis! And that was it; we tucked in and ate and talked with various people, we taught many of them the dance Strip The Willow with varying success, although everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In return we were taught a traditional Slovenian dance – in comparison it was very tame and a good way to wind down the evening!
On day 1 we stopped in Ciclova Romana and Manuela went to collect sheep’s cheese. It was as if we’ve stepped back in time: green grass transported by horse drawn cart, hens pecking about, a cock crowing and the smell of mown hay and dung. When I went to primary school in the early 60s we passed a field with the last working horse; all farms had tractors by then. We hardly saw farm machinery in this part of Romania. Ten yards after the village of Ciclova Romana ends Ciclova Montana begins. We stayed there in a village house, within walking distance of forests, meadows and the Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park. We tried local produce and experienced some rhythms of village life, as we ate our first meal we heard bells from cows being driven home for milking. One day the water pump broke and we brought in water from the well in the garden and used the toilet there which emptied into the river rushing past.
The group was intrigued to learn that forestry age is measured differently in Bulgaria where the mean age of trees is used rather than the length of time the area has been afforested. This is due to the influence of other European countries where a more holistic approach through continuous forestry methods are adopted. This is unlike Scottish forestry which is still in the infancy of this and mostly managed on a financial /accountancy basis. The oldest tree in the park was a 500 year old beech. The group asked several questions about deer but it was apparent there was no problem with high densities due to a combination of factors, primarily predation by wolves and anthropogenic hunting. One of the rangers stated that there were probably less than one deer per 100 ha. The hunting in the region is managed by local hunting groups and licenses are issued by the Ministry for Food and Agriculture.
Funding organisation: Leonardo de Vinci organisation Promoting organisation: ARCH, Scotland Host organisation: Krajina, Slovakia Itinerary Main themes from week 1) Large extent and naturalness of woodland cover – Slovakia has 40% woodland cover nationally with a higher proportion in the areas we visited. Some of the woodland in National Parks is left entirely to natural […]
The area of Norway we visited has a number of large herbivores present in its woodlands. These include Moose, red and roe deer, with Reindeer found further north. Looking at the sites we visited their impact on the regeneration of the forests seems to be minimal, despite the fact that pinus spp. are generally prone to browsing damage. In contrast to scotland where these herbivores are generally treated as a pest in forestry terms, in Norway they are treated as a valuable forest resource, giving an valuable annual income from the sale of shooting rights and meat/skins. (up to £2800/moose for meat alone). The only area where we saw a substantial impact on forestry was in areas where the moose were fed in the winter. Winter feeding is carried out to draw the animals away from the valleys and roads in winter, and this increase in densty in the feeding areas has had a major impact on the regeneration of trees.
A NATURE EXCHANGE VISIT TO ICELAND IN JUNE 2012 This is a personal report on a visit to Skalanes Natural and Heritage Centre 17-23 June 2012. The visit was promoted and organised by the ARCH Trainer Exchange (Nature Exchange 9) and funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European Commission. Flying from Glasgow to […]