Activity: Talk or presentation › Oral presentation
The Highlands and Islands of Scotland has a mixture of land uses that dominate the landscape but woodlands are lacking clear economic and cultural drivers to motivate uptake by land owners. The Government woodland expansion strategy is pushing wide spread planting and regeneration but a combination of past practices and conflict with traditional Highland Estate Sporting management is preventing woodlands from finding their niche beyond recreation and amenity. Scotland is investing widely in renewable energy and the Highlands have been earmarked as a Bioenergy region. Forest energy has been receiving less attention than wind or hydro schemes but could play a significant role in developing domestic energy markets. Sporting Estates cover the majority of the Highlands, so the potential for a forest energy resource base is strongly influenced by landowner decision-making. Landowner motivation to adopt short rotation forestry is hindered by underdeveloped markets and cultural factors that drive management. The interactive field interview explores economic, cultural and spatial planning issues simultaneously as the researcher and landowner walk the Estate. Primarily the tool is designed to engage landowners by providing them with figures, comparisons and simple options for new woodlands. A computer tablet with a mapping App is used to plan potential areas of woodland and run through a ‘Forest Energy Tool’, specifically developed to address woodland expansion issues in the Highlands. The tool generates net economic revenues, timber volume, carbon sequestration and calorific values. The interview component tracked by GPS and recorded on dictaphones aims to identify main cultural drivers that influence current and potential management decisions-this information forms a Cultural Transect of the Estate. Linking the various components of the interactive field interview produces a deeper insight into the potential woodfuel resource base within diverse regions in the Highlands. The individual field interviews will be followed by a Clustered Land Use Collaboration workshop with the participating Estates within each case study area. This process will compare the maps (Potential forest energy & Site compatibility) produced from the interviews to look at opportunities and obstacles to management within a micro-regional context. Connecting land use across borders from the perspective of traditional highland management systems may inform possible strategies for an Ecosystem Approach through the lens of forest energy.