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Effects of Moorland Burning on the Ecohydrology of River basins

Scottish Countryside Alliance director of Jamie Stewart said: “We welcome this piece of research into the environmental impact of moorland burning which can be used to help inform best practice in the field.


Heather burning has been a crucial management tool in the uplands for more than a century, providing significant benefits to wildlife by creating a mosaic of different-aged heather that provides food and protection for many species of threatened ground nesting birds. Muirburn, carried out in accordance with Scottish Government endorsed Muirburn Code can also significantly reduce the risk of uncontrolled wildfires, and help prevent their considerable impact on wildlife and the environment. An enormous amount of consensus on how peatland restoration can best be achieved has recently been reached between all interested parties, and it is important that the considerable advantages that can arise as a result of controlled burning continue to be taken fully into account when considering its potential disadvantages, and a sensible balance reached”.


Jamie Stewart said: “I am saddened that some have taken the key facts as indicators that moorland management for grouse alone somehow translates to moorland damage. Peatland’s have been subject to artificial drainage for centuries. This drainage has been in response to agricultural demand, forestry, horticultural, the energy properties of peat and alleviation of flood risk.  Moorland management for grouse not only maintains but reclaims and revitalises large areas of this globally rare and important environmental asset. The EMBER study focuses on the effects of prescriptive burning on blanket peat but does not address the effects of the devastating impact of wildfire, which of course is controlled through fire breaks within a managed moor.  It is important to review the results of any study impartially and to review the results within the context of the studies aims and objectives collectively if they are to have any positive worth.”


The Full report can be read here

Muirburn Code

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