48-page full colour A5 booklet108 photosREPRINTED JULY2016with minor revisions£5Contactecology@fenton.scotFirst published April 2011Author: James Fenton
TOWARDS A NEW PARADIGM FOR THE ECOLOGY OF NORTHERN & WESTERN SCOTLANDA SYNTHESIS OF ISSUES
Towards a New Paradigm for the Ecology of Northern & Western ScotlandOLD PARADIGM The current landscape consists of degraded ecosystems, largely through past and present human action. Hence ‘habitat restoration’ is a key activity.NEW PARADIGM The landscape of northern and western Scotland contains one of the most natural vegetation patterns in Europe with, for example, the current rarity of woodland in many localities being a key biodiversity feature. Hence the concept of ‘habitat restoration’ loses its meaning.
CONTENTS2. Preamble & IntroductionVEGETATION DYNAMICSWoodland issues7. Vegetation history: woodland as an episode8. Vegetation history: natural as opposed to anthropogenic woodland loss9. Tree regeneration: not inevitable in natural systems10. Woodland & grazing11. Woodland history12. Norway: the wrong model for Scotland13. The concept of ancient woodland: not applicable to much of upland Scotland14. The naturally low abundance of montane scrub15. Concept of treeline: not applicable in the oceanic climateLandscape-scale pattern16. Natural vegetation zonation17. Ecological dynamism & favourable condition18. Overgrazing: a valid concept?Peatland issues19. Peat erosion as a natural phenomenon20. The long-term peat cycle21. Peat cycle diagramInvasive species22. The spread of gorse23. The spread of bracken24. Invasive species and loss of biodiversity25. Invasive species – colonisation of conifers26. Hill tracks as corridors for invasive species
Rarity of species & habitats27. Rarity as an ecological characteristic28. Rarity at different scales29.Conclusions from the Previous Pages44. Climate change notesCONSERVATION POLICY ISSUES30. Biodiversity value of woodland versus moorland31. Favourable condition at the landscape scale32. Ecological networks: Woodland networks fragment moorland networks33. Compartmentalisation of the uplands34. Compartmentalisation – riverside ‘restoration’35. The action planning approach at the landscape scale36. Moorland management37. Need for a moorland strategy38. Soil damage through tree planting; Trees & albedo39. Irreversible effect of forestry40. Trees & erosion of hill slopes41. Peatland conservation and carbon storage42. Bulldozed tracks & wild land43. Re-Wilding44. Climate change notes45. Approaches to nature conservation & biodiversity targets46. Endpiece