University of the Highlands and Islands, RSPB Scotland and Cairngorms National Park Authority unite to deliver special conference for future land mana

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Students at the land conference in Carrbridge

A special conference organised by the University of the Highlands and Islands, RSPB Scotland and the Cairngorms National Park Authority has been pronounced a “great success” with plans to organise a similar conference next year. The conference, which was held in Carrbridge, took as its subject the challenges of land management and was attended by students and staff from the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership.

The “Integrated Land Use Conference” saw a range of expert speakers from across the Highlands and Islands brief the students on the challenges of managing estates so that they can be run as successful businesses as well as supporting the wildlife for which the region is famous.

Dr Sue Engstrand from the university said: “This event was a really innovative way to introduce an integrated and holistic approach to land use at an early stage in the careers of our students. To get the best from our land in future, our land managers will need to work together with people from different backgrounds, with different interests and sometimes different values. They will need to be able to focus on common goals to deliver multiple benefits to our communities. This conference brought together students from nine different courses, each focussing on different aspects of land use. We learned about both the challenges and the opportunities for land use in the future and the importance of partnership working. Working together across traditional boundaries was a key theme of this conference and we are delighted to be able to prepare our students in this way for their future roles.”

Stewart Blair of RSPB Scotland, who also works as a UHI tutor, said: “It was great to see so many students working together in such a stimulating environment. The workshop sessions allowed them to develop their own ideas for managing land and then present their findings to the other students and staff. We also greatly enjoyed the presentations made by the team of experts who covered a range of subjects including deer management, community ownership and future land use in the Highlands and Islands. It was an inspirational event and very thought-provoking.”

Hamish Trench, land use director at the Cairngorms National Park Authority, commented: “We were delighted to be involved in the recent conference, helping land managers of the future to build on their knowledge and experience. Land managers play a huge role in looking after the Cairngorms National Park, its economy and visitor experience. This event is a great way to look ahead to the varied perspectives, skills and knowledge needed to get the best from our land for people and nature.”




For more information, please contact:

Stewart Blair, RSPB uplands advisory officer, on 01463 715000 or
RSPB North Scotland communications manager Alan Tissiman on 01463 228810 or 07775 227614 or