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Too many deer in Scotland? Hutton expertise contributes to deer management inquiry

Professor Steve Albon at ECCLR session (Parliament TV)
"We sought to explain the detail of the key findings and clarify misunderstandings, while at the same time acknowledging where there is uncertainty and what we still do not know

Deer are iconic species in Scotland and provide a key ecological resource for the tourism, hunting and food industries. However, at high densities their impact can be detrimental to some habitats. Are the right policies and incentives in place to ensure their long-term management? The question is at the centre of an inquiry into a recent report by SNH on deer management in Scotland, conducted by the Environmental, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee of the Scottish Parliament, and to which experts from the James Hutton Institute have contributed evidence.

A group of academic experts featuring Professor Steve Albon (James Hutton Institute’s Ecological Sciences Group), Dr Duncan Halley, (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research), Professor David McCracken (SRUC) and Professor Rory Putman (University of Glasgow) gave evidence about ways of managing deer, the ecological impact of the species and the consequences of failing to protect them. The session is available to watch online on Parliament TV.

The subject is contentious and generated a large amount of written evidence from a wide range of stakeholders. On behalf of the James Hutton Institute, Professor Albon said: “Much of the debate focusses on the number of red deer and contests various aspects of the count methodology. In our opinion many of the views were not borne out by the underlying science.

“As we have undertaken much of the analysis and modelling under a partnership contract with SNH we sought to explain the detail of the key findings and clarify misunderstandings, while at the same time acknowledging where there is uncertainty and what we still do not know.”

The role of the ECCLR Committee is to scrutinise the Scottish Government’s policies and expenditure in relation to environment, land reform, water quality, climate change, national parks, Crown estate and marine planning.

The James Hutton Institute’s Ecological Sciences group is a multi-disciplinary cluster of over 80 researchers with a unique breadth of scientific expertise, skills and knowledge in the ecology, physiology and systematics of microbes, lichens, fungi, plants, invertebrates and mammals. The group maintains a large post-graduate cohort of more than 100 PhD students who are affiliated with universities around the world.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/too-many-deer-scotland-hutton-expertise-contributes-deer-management-inquiry on 23/01/19 10:49:37 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.