The aim of the course was to give an understanding of land use in Southwest Norway, with a particular focus on forestry, game management, and conservation. Relevance has been heightened by recent trends in Scottish rural policy, seeking to redress the balance in land tenure between smaller-scale freehold, community land ownership, and the sporting interests on private estates. Visiting these upland areas of montane scrub in Norway was incredibly inspiring, showing us what we could do to restore habitats largely lost from the Scottish landscape.
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.