Scotland’s Changing Landscape – exploring the tensions between farming, forestry and rewilding in the uplands

Scotland’s Changing Landscape – exploring the tensions between farming, forestry and rewilding in the uplands

With multiple pressures coming from all angles, one thing is clear: our landscapes will, and must, be managed differently. This session discussed the opportunities and the tensions between upland farming, commercial forestry and rewilding in a post-COVID, post-Brexit, climate-changing future.

Bringing you an all-Scottish panel of farmers and conservationists coming from a range of perspectives – from rewilding to agroforestry to moorland management – we held this space to host a lively debate about the tensions and possibilities that lie ahead for the upland land manager.


Alan McDonnell is Conservation Manager at Trees For Life, a rewilding charity in the Scottish Highlands.  While focused on ecological regeneration and involving volunteers in practical, mindful action to restore habitats and species, much of his work is about finding ways to use the skills, knowledge and livelihoods in today’s landscapes as the basis of a future with a sustainable balance between the needs of nature, business and people’s quality of life.

Andrew Barbour is a farmer and forester, working in Highland Perthshire.  He was the chairman of the Scottish Government’s Woodland Expansion Advisory Group which reported back in 2010, looking at the ambitions of Govt to expand forestry at that time.  More recently he was part of the Deer Working Group which has just recently reported to Scottish Government.

Finn Weddle is a self-directed student of agroforestry and an advocate of regenerative livelihoods, ecological design and agroecology. He is especially passionate about the landscape and the businesses and communities that shape it, and is bringing this session to the NRFC to highlight the work being undertaken in Scotland and cross-pollinate learnings with English counterparts. He is also a Director of Reforesting Scotland, has worked extensively with Permaculture Scotland and consults on ecological enterprise, sharing learnings through The Regenerative Livelihood Podcast.

Patrick Laurie worked as a project manager for the Heather Trust over eight years, promoting integrated moorland management for a variety of land uses across the UK uplands, including agriculture, peatland, renewables and fieldsports. He then moved to Soil Association Scotland to deliver their Farming with Nature program, before setting up as an independent moorland management consultant. Alongside this work, he now manages the Galloway Hills Network, a project to promote diverse and sustainable upland farming in southwest Scotland. He has also been running a herd of pedigree galloway cattle in a variety of conservation projects for black grouse and curlews since 2015.

You can read the session outcomes here.


Oct 08 2020


1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

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