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State of Scotland's wild land to be studied

The wild qualities of Scotland’s landscape are more valued than ever in an era when nature is felt to be in retreat across the planet. Now, in a bid to safeguard them, the Scottish Wild Land Group (SWLG) has launched the first ever project to gather data on whether Scotland’s wildness is being lost, and if so, how fast. The six-month project will look first at trends across all 42 of Scotland’s official Wild Land Areas, particularly around tracks, wind turbines, dams and commercial plantations.

A more detailed study of five sample areas will come up with maps to show just what is happening on the ground. Four of these areas are in the highlands: NW Sutherland; the Creag Meagaidh area; the Glen Affric area; and the Monadhliath, including land within the Cairngorms National Park. The fifth area is in Ayrshire, east of Largs. The final strand will look at how planning policies might change to stop wild land loss.

The project is being supported by the Scottish Mountaineering Trust and the Cairngorms Campaign, The three organisations have commissioned Dr Steve Carver of the Wildland Research Institute and Ian Kelly of Ian Kelly Planning Consultants Limited to carry out the work.

Dr James Fenton of the Scottish Wild Land Group said: “The SWLG is very pleased to have joined with our partners to help us measure and understand what is happening to wild land on the ground.“

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