James H C Fenton ECOLOGIST www.fenton.scot
James Fenton’s latest paper, first published online at www.fenton.scot 9 October 2019
WOODLAND OR OPEN GROUND? Scenarios for the persistence of woodland in the presence of grazing The Highlands of Scotland as an example
The Upland Ecology of Scotland: a Review of the Favourable Condition Approach in Relation to Grazing and Carbon Storage. In recent years there has been much talk in conservation circles about overgrazing in the uplands, about there being too many deer. The underlying reason for this appears to be that deer eat trees, resulting in many sites being declared in ‘unfavourable condition’ owing to the browsing-induced tree mortality. Woodlands are seen as a key habitat so that any lack of regeneration must be rectified by reducing the herbivore population. Additionally trees are seen as important carbon stores so that their spread should be encouraged to help mitigate global warming. This document is a critique of the above topics and of the whole ‘favourable condition’ approach to the management of upland sites. At the same time it attempts to clarify many of the relevant ecological terms which are often loosely defined in common parlance. There cannot be full communication unless we agree with the meaning of words and of the underlying concepts. October 2014 Download here .pdf 2mb
New digital version June 2015 The State of Highland Birchwoods The report of the 1984 survey of birchwoods in Highland Region. By James Fenton for the Scottish Wildlife Trust. A4 36 pages. Download 5mb
Management of our uplands should be based on a full understanding of the area’s ecology
A more informal version of the above paper has recently been published in the Munro Society Journal No.5, 2020. It is here reprinted with the kind permission of The Munro Society. The essay is titled ‘The Scottish Hills are Natural!’ Download here pdf, 7 pages, 3.7mb
Comments on recent papers on deer in Scotland There is a lot of talk about red deer in the news these days. We are not used to seeing significant numbers of indigenous large mammals in Europe because we have made most of them extinct! So when we see lots of deer in Scotland we think there must be too many. See here for my views on some recent papers from NGOs & government. pdf, 3pp., 580kb