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ECOLOGIST www.james-hc-fenton.eu James H C Fenton
* NEW * SCENES: Scottish Environment News All issues 1987-2017 now available to download free as pdf files.  An excellent resource, charting the development of environmental issues in Scotland over the past 30 years. Click here
The return of deep forestry ploughing Can there be a more damaging activity than taking a double mould-board plough and ripping it through the whole landscape? A technique developed in the past to enable the establishment of commercial trees on infertile and damp soils. I thought we had seen the end of it. But recently I have noticed it coming back, both in Argyll and on Dava Moor where these pictures were taken. Perhaps it is an inevitable consequence of the government policy of 25% of Scotland under trees. But the plough rips indiscriminately through the archaeology, plant communities and soil, changing the drainage and releasing much of the carbon stored in the soil. The pictures show a whole hillside being ploughed, mostly through habitats recognised as of international importance on the EU Habitats Directive (dry heath, wet heath & blanket peat). If it happened in other parts of the world, would there not be an outcry?
A View from Argyll James Fenton’s perspective on current conservation issues Click here for previous blogs
Although most trees have been removed from this plantation (north of Coire nan Ciste in the Cairngorms), the plough- lines remain, and will probably be visible for thousands of years.
A recently ploughed hillside on Dava Moor, south of Nairn (ploughed in 2017)