I went to Finland with an idea to compare the forests there with those in Scotland and, more specifically, with that found at Abernethy. It became apparent, however, that such a comparison was unrealistic. The context of the forests, geographically, culturally and historically, are totally different. Finland is roughly 5 times the size of Scotland and is 75% forested. The population is approximately the same in both countries. This has meant that huge areas of Finnish forest are never, or incredibly rarely, disturbed by human activity. Historically, effectively all of Scotland’s forests have been managed as commercial plantations, especially following the Second World War. This meant a huge reduction in the size of the forest and large areas of forest consisting of uniform trees the same age and size. Finland has greater areas of old growth, natural forest which has never been managed by humans. Culturally, the natural world appears to garner much more respect in Finland than in Scotland with visitors much less likely to actively damage the forest or wilfully disturb wildlife. Regular fire sites and camping huts mean that visitors have designated places to eat, sleep and light fires. Much of the way the Finnish people treat and manage their forests provide a glimpse of how Abernethy could be however it felt to me that we are simply a couple of generations behind.
Links to the best Norwegian websites and databases fpr conservation.
Much like in Scotland, turf building is in serious decline, this leads to a skills shortage and a danger that the skills might eventually be lost.
The beauty of turf building is that it has evolved over generations in response to factors such as the socioeconomic
changes, materials shortage and the effects of the everchanging climate climate.
Thankfully, the work that Skagafjörður Heritage Museum is doing, helps to keep the skills and knowledge alive.
We have returned home from our trip to Bulgaria refreshed with new ideas and an insight into how other European countries approach connecting communities with their natural and historical environment. Bulgaria takes a holistic approach by including arts, heritage, festivals, folklore and history into their engagement around our natural and cultural heritage. They encourage their citizens to engage in crafts using inspiration from the natural world, to appreciate the intrinsic value of nature and to conserve special places for future generations.
Through combining both of these aspects into the trip, which are perhaps often seen somewhat as contrasting ways to understand the biodiversity, whilst additionally learning about the rich history and traditions of the country, this has provided a valuable insight into how well-rounded disseminating information can be done, integrating many perspectives for understanding the environment into a single day alone to link together and catch the attention of visitors when communicating conservation to the public.
The Erasmus+ course in Estonia in July/August 2018 was great, packed to the brim with inspiring learning. I intended to make a scrapbook as a report but did not have enough time. I have made a sort of presentation/digital scrapbook hybrid (not very creative!) which I hope still retains the visual sense I intended, if […]
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)
The history and culture of Poland is of great significance when considering not only nature conservation in Poland, but also how the population perceives their valuable natural assets. In Poland, the connection to the land was broken for a significant period of time…
In Norway, there is an annual monitoring programme of all grouse species that covers much of the country. Started in 2013, the Hønsefugl Portalen is a largescale partnership between NINA (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research), FeFo (a landowner enterprise in Finnmark, Northern Norway), Statskog (State landowner), Miljødirektoratet (Norwegian Environement Agency), HINT (Nordtrondelag University), Norges Fjellstyresamband (Norwegian Mountain Board who administer hunting rights on crown land) and Hedmark University. The initial project began in the 1950’s, walking transects and counting flushed birds, using the distance counting statistical method. It is now a web-based portal for monitoring both public and private land.
The course ‘Investigating Traditional Lime Burning and Products’ was organised by ARCH Network in Scotland and Satul Verde in Romania. The course was funded by Erasmus+. For the week Monica Oprean from Satul Verde and Martin Clark from ARCH were our guides and transport, as well as the source of never ending information and stories. […]