Land Use: Biodiversity

winter-1

Biodiversity

Land Use

Biodiversity

Biodiversity means the recognition that all the species on our planet have a particular place and interact with many other species, including ourselves, and that the loss of any species can have a terrible and far-reaching knock-on effect.[1]

One of the reasons why the Affric area is so suitable to become a National Park is its landscape and wildlife. It includes several varied habitats, from relatively fertile low-lying river valleys to wooded slopes, steep hillsides, grassy uplands, heather moorland, and high mountain peaks.

It is home to some iconic species, such as the crossbills of the pine woods and the dragonflies of the lower River Affric.

It would be the aim of the proposed National Park to preserve and if possible increase the number of species of flora and fauna populating our area. Throughout the world, many species are threatened by changes to their habitat due to global warming, but in addition to trying to combat climate change, we also need to prevent other types of habitat destruction.

The present land use in our area needs to be examined to ensure that no species is currently threatened, and any proposals for changes of land use in our area should also be investigated thoroughly to assess the likely effects on any native species.

Currently the species most under threat is the red deer; these animals are being killed in large numbers because they are seen by Forest and Land Scotland (FLS) as a danger to young trees. The red deer population is being reduced to an extent where it is barely sustainable, although most of the deer live for most of the time on the open hill. The policy of killing out of season needs to be revised urgently.

The proposed planting of more trees in upland areas which are at present under grass, heather and scrub presents a threat to the deer, as they may be shot if they are found in areas of new tree planting. Other species of the open hillsides would also find their habitat destroyed by tree planting; these include the golden plover and the iconic bird of the Highlands, the golden eagle.

Upland plants of open spaces such as bog asphodel, bog myrtle and marsh orchid would also suffer.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/12/what-is-biodiversity-and-why-does-it-matter-to-us