Managing Scotland's Environment

Managing Scotland's Environment

Managing Scotland's Environment

Managing Scotland's Environment


Scotland's natural environment is its most treasured asset and the subject of its most vociferous debates. Charles Warren tackles land reform, the future of farming, public access, conservation of moorland and birds of prey, the place of forestry, and the control of alien species and red deer, taking up the integration of conservation with social and economic objectives.


In January 1995 I set about the task of writing a new Honours-level undergraduate course entitled ‘Environmental Management in Scotland’. This involved picking up threads that I had laid down in 1987, at the end of an MSc in Natural Resource Management, in order to pursue calving glaciers in remote corners of the globe. Seeking initial advice from John Blyth in my former department at Edinburgh University on the key question of potential course texts, I was told that none existed and that I should write one myself. This flippantly offered (and – at the time – instantly dismissed) suggestion has now given rise to the present text.

The aims and scope of the book

Why the need for this book? What is it, and what is it not? To my mind, the need for a text such as this is glaringly obvious and urgent. Amazingly, there is no book which introduces and discusses the full sweep of Scottish environmental issues in a contemporary context. It is easy to lay one’s hands on material relating to particular sectors – agriculture, water resources or conservation, for instance – and a number of recent edited volumes cover much useful ground, but the whole picture is rarely presented. This is particularly surprising and regrettable given the current emphasis on integration and holistic management. the ground-breaking text edited by Paul Selman (1988a) has now been largely left behind by the speed and extent of subsequent change. More recent popular treatments which do range widely, while lively, interesting and well informed, cannot engage with the literature in very much depth. (What they do offer, of course, is a profusion of superb illustrations with which this contribution cannot compete.)

This book aims to be two things: firstly, a textbook for use in higher education, and secondly an accessible, integrated overview of the Scottish environmental scene for the many organisations, groups and individuals who are involved in these issues. the danger of falling between two stools is clear, but at a time when new environmental policy is being formed at breakneck speed in this ‘brave new Scotland’, it would seem criminal to write something that would only be read in so-called ivory towers and not in contexts where it might (just possibly) make a difference. in terms of its scope, the book focuses exclusively on the terrestrial and freshwater environments. It stops at the coast, saying nothing about Scotland’s rich marine heritage and the challenges of managing it; that would be a book in itself. No attempt to achieve both breadth and . . .

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