Environment & Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse visited Scone Game Fair and highlighted the need for effective and responsible deer management across Scotland.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of a new Forestry Commission Scotland publication, the first of its kind, which sets out the Commission’s approach to sustainable deer management.
The publication is designed to act as a blueprint to help promote and share good practice in deer management in Scotland. Mr Wheelhouse said:
“The Scottish Government very much recognises and supports deer management as a necessary and positive contribution to the health and vibrancy of our environment, social well-being and our economy."
“In excessive numbers, deer can damage the landscape, impact negatively on habitats and overgraze to the point where their environment can no longer sustain them in such numbers."
“By taking a holistic, integrated landscape-scale view of deer management, Forestry Commission Scotland's approach helps to avoid these issues and allows deer to contribute positively to biodiversity and to help deliver the Commission’s environmental, social and economic objectives.”
The Commission manages deer sustainably so that Scotland’s diverse, productive and resilient national forest estate can function as a multi-benefit resource delivering a range of environmental, social and economic benefits.
The Commission culls around 30,000 deer per year, approximately one third of the annual national cull of a population estimated to number 777,000.
Bruce Sewell, Forest Management Officer and author of the publication, said:
“As a significant manager of land, deer and outdoor recreation in Scotland, we’re doing what we can to raise awareness nationally of the importance of deer in Scotland and the need to manage them sustainably.
“We intend that what we do on the national forest estate should be widely recognised as an exemplar of best practice for deer management in both the rural and urban environment.”
The publication ‘Deer Management on the National Forest Estate – Current Practices and Future Directions’ is available online at http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/managing/plans-and-strategies/deer-management-strategy