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Spring 2016

Scotland: The Big Picture
Scotland: The Big Picture

Water. Our most precious resource and one of the most powerful of all natural forces. The devastating floods of last winter have yet again focused minds on the looming threat of severe weather events brought about through a changing climate. There is growing evidence that restoring upland and riparian ecosystems can help mitigate the worst affects of flooding and numerous pilot projects are underway to explore that potential.

In the Scottish Borders, the Tweed Forum has initiated the Eddleston Water Project to investigate whether the restoration of natural habitats can help improve the river valley for wildlife and help to reduce the risk of flooding in Eddleston and Peebles.



Across Scotland, individuals, communities and land managers are increasingly recognising the positive benefits of a wilder landscape. Carbon storage, flood mitigation, water purification and new tourism products are all examples of wider 'societal' benefits resulting from healthier ecosystems. In the southwestern corner of the Cairngorms, one traditional sporting estate has changed its management approach to provide a template for a landscape that supports both wildlife and people.

Read about THE GLEN here.



Photo essays.

SCOTLAND: The Big Picture is all about storytelling: using visual media tied to compelling narratives to inspire more people to see the potential of a wilder Scotland.  Check out these photo essays in a developing series:

REWILDING SCOTLAND: Alan Watson Featherstone HERE

LIVING WITH LYNX: David Hetherington HERE

HUNTED: Amy-Jane Beer HERE
THE GLEN: Peter Cairns HERE

Rewilding on Winterwatch.
SCOTLAND: The Big Picture photographer Peter Cairns, recently joined the Winterwatch team to talk about rewilding in general and the The Big Picture project more specifically. Coming up in the next week or so (schedules not yet finalised), Peter speaks to the One Show during a feature exploring the potential for the reintroduction of lynx.

Scottish beavers update.

A decision on the long term future of beavers in Scotland was due in 2015 but has now been postponed until after the elections in May. In the meantime, in response to growing concerns about beavers being shot in Tayside, Scottish Environment Minister Aileen McLeod, has issued the following statement: 

"We are aware of and share the concerns raised by the recent information about the killing of beavers during the breeding season and we ask all land managers to heed the advice set out regarding when there are likely to be dependent young and shooting is particularly discouraged. The use of Nature Conservation Orders are available to us and should evidence emerge that welfare concerns for beavers are being ignored, we will look to use these powers to protect beavers in specific areas.”

Trees can grow in a "wet desert."
Weather, geology and altitude are all commonly cited as 'natural' barriers to tree growth in many parts of Scotland and yet, in south-west Norway, with conditions almost identical to many parts of the Highlands, forest regeneration has been rapid and widespread.
Learn more here.

Red squirrels on the move.
Award-winning Scottish charity Trees for Life have embarked on an ambitious programme of translocating red squirrels to 10 areas across the Highlands where they've not been seen for decades. The 3-year project is targeting a 10% increase in Scotland's red squirrel numbers as well as involving volunteers in hands-on conservation work.
More here.

Life and death. And life again.
In the absence of large predators, the process of death, decay and regeneration in a landscape is compromised. This is a great graphic showing how carcasses feed a wide spectrum of species from top carnivores to microscopic insects. Apologies if you don't speak Dutch but you'll get the general idea!

Connect with us.
SCOTLAND: The Big Picture is a multimedia initiative to articulate and amplify the case for a wilder Scotland. We're on Facebook providing up-to-date images, films and reports from the field. Most of our photographers are on Twitter and you can stay on the case using #ScotlandTBP.