Friday, 26 June 2015

Introduction to WildCromar!

Welcome to WildCromar, the blog for the Cromar Farming With Nature project. This is an exciting new collaboration between The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), The MacRobert Trust and the local community, to investigate the needs of Cromar’s wildlife and to try and provide for those needs in a sensible way.

Cromar Farming With Nature: sustainable wildlife and rural communities
Wildlife today, especially in the UK, has to coexist alongside man. This means that if we want to have a countryside that is rich in wildlife we need to find ways of managing our farmland, forests and rural communities that are not hostile to plants and animals, but also that don’t exclude people from enjoying and making a living from the great outdoors.

This project began in early 2015 and comprises two main parts: The GWCT’s demonstration farm at Auchnerran, and the MacRobert Trust estate around Tarland (see map). The former is where we hope to research and demonstrate novel methods of land use and the latter is an area of mixed farmland and woodland run for many years now by the MacRobert Trust. In both areas we are carrying out a ‘biological audit’ to find out which species are present. This requires a massive team effort involving staff, students and local volunteers to search for existing sources of information that might tell us what’s been seen already, and to survey the area directly to fill in the blanks. (Please see the Acknowledgements section for a full list of collaborators and contributors). And there are a lot of blanks! This project is the first to have surveyed the area on this scale and will provide an unprecedented level of detail on a wide range of species (see our Project List for the current survey program).

We hope that this information will then be of use to the area’s many land managers. For example, all farmers now have to ensure their land caters for wildlife to a certain extent by complying with the new ‘Greening’ measures: our survey data will show what wildlife there is in the area and therefore highlight those options that are relevant. We hope to work closely with the area’s farmers and other stakeholders throughout the project to try and make sure we don’t miss anything, but also to provide them with information that is most relevant to their needs.

We also hope that the information collected will be of use to a variety of national and regional recording schemes, such as NESBReC (North East Scotland Biological Records Centre) for example.

In the pages that follow you will see examples of what we are doing, written by a variety of contributors, which will give you an idea of what we are trying to achieve and the work involved. If you have any comments or questions, please contact me and if you want to get involved, please shout!

Dave Parish, 07889 891956.

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