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Students meet in Carrbridge for land use conference

Monday 27 March 2017

Over 50 students from around the Highlands and Islands will gather in Carrbridge this week for a conference on integrated land use. Organised by the University of the Highlands and Islands and industry partners, the two-day event will bring together students from a range of land-based disciplines to collaborate and learn from each other.

Delegates, who are studying subjects such as agriculture, forestry, gamekeeping and environmental science, will attend workshops, take part in discussions, develop skills through practical field trips and hear from expert speakers.

The event will be the university’s sixth annual integrated land use conference. This year’s theme will focus on ‘balancing landscape benefits of woodland expansion.’ Representatives from the Cairngorms National Park Authority, the Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage, SEPA and the RSPB will address the students on topics such as the future of timber industry, farm diversification, species choice and spatial planning. The students will also learn about Juniper plantation restoration and have the opportunity to sample some gin from the owner of Loch Ness Gin, Kevin Cameron-Ross.

Dr Euan Bowditch, a forestry researcher based at Inverness College UHI, is leading the organisation of the event. He said: “This event provides an important forum for future land managers to grapple with fundamental landscape management issues and to learn about the array of perspectives that shape land management in Scotland today. This also gives them valuable insight into potential career paths beyond their individual subject areas.”

Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, will attend the conference to address the students and hear about their work. He said: “I am delighted to have a chance to meet the students at this conference and engage with them. My theme shall be the need to ‘re-people’ the highlands, namely provide the opportunity to stem depopulation in the Highlands and Islands by provision of opportunities to gain a livelihood and secure a house and home. Land use strategies should enable this objective to be achieved.”

The University of the Highlands and Islands Integrated Land Use Conference takes place on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March in Carrbridge. More information about the conference is available at www.uhi.ac.uk/iluc.

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