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‘Rewilding the Scottish Highlands: a taxonomy of wild land discourses’ Holly Deary, Dr Charles Warren, Dr Rob McMorran.

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Presentation on theme: "‘Rewilding the Scottish Highlands: a taxonomy of wild land discourses’ Holly Deary, Dr Charles Warren, Dr Rob McMorran."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘Rewilding the Scottish Highlands: a taxonomy of wild land discourses’ Holly Deary, Dr Charles Warren, Dr Rob McMorran

2 ‘Restoring the Highlands’ Multi-dimensional nature of ‘wild land’ Different land managers, different parameters Disparate rewilding frameworks Multi-dimensional nature of ‘wild land’ Different land managers, different parameters Disparate rewilding frameworks

3 Research aims …..the importance of understanding these ‘wilding trajectories’ To develop a taxonomy of wild land discourses To establish a conceptual framework for understanding the complexity of Scotland’s wild land movement To examine how these wild land discourses interface with one another and with other environmental discourses

4 What is Q-methodology Social sciences research method Exploring subjectivity (i.e. viewpoint) Exploring statistical relationships between viewpoints Form of factor analysis A way of defining discourses which frame participants views: provides a relative set of evaluations for each respondent

5 How important are the following statements in accordance with your vision for wild land? Most important …………. Least important

6 Wild land Q-Sorts Each and every Q- sort is correlated with one another, then subject to centroid factor analysis

7 Factor Arrays Three distinct factors Absolute normalised Z scores converted to relative rankings to highlight areas of consensus and discordance Red represents greatest area of variance between factors, grey statements are those with greatest consensus

8 Distinguishing statements: profile 1 Distinguishing Statements for factor 1Factor 1Factor 2Factor 3 4.Promoting natural processes1.52 (3)0.69 (1)0.62 (1) 32.The intrinsic value of nature1.39 (2)0.53 (1)-0.34 (-1) 11.Enhancing the experiential sense of wildness1.08 (2)0.00 (0)0.07 (0) 1.Reintroduction of extirpated species0.41 (1)-1.70 (-2)-1.63 (-2) 12.Removing human artefacts0.39 (0)-2.08 (-3)-1.09 (-2) 25.A sustainable future0.18 (0)1.53 (3)1.23 (2) 29.An authentic landscape-0.36 (0)-1.70 (-2)1.08 (2) 18.Providing sporting opportunities-1.94 (-3)-0.19 (-1)0.01 (0) 20.Ensuring the land is productive-2.00 (-3)0.03 (0)-0.96 (-1) ….statements concerning experiential wildness/landscape ….statements concerning socio-economics

9 Taxonomy themes Strength of Q-methodology in its integration of quantitative and qualitative data Rationalising ‘why’ the Q-sort is sorted that way Holistic understanding of the nature of these profiles Establishment of taxonomic themes

10 Taxonomy themes i.Ecological parameters “[…] moving from the human domination of the ecosystems to one in which natural processes prevail” (Profile 1 estate) “[…] allow the land to achieve its full ecological potential – making it as ecologically productive as we can” (Profile 2 estate) “We do and will continue to do a lot of specific management specifically for mountain ringlet because it is a key species” (Profile 3 estate)

11 Taxonomy themes ii. Historical fidelity “We are completely relaxed about the endpoint” (Profile 1 estate) “We’re concerned with going forwards rather than going backwards” (Profile 2 estate)

12 Interpretation: Taxonomy themes iii. The place of cultural heritage and valuing ‘tradition’ “Ignoring the cultural heritage is not something which sits comfortably with somebody who has a Highland history” (P3 estate) “Wild land should never mean the exclusion of people, especially in a landscape with such a rich cultural history” (P2 estate) […] crofting can have some quite extensive benefits for lapwings in terms of having areas of shorter grass after grazing” (P2 estate) “Wild land should be devoid of human influence, so how can we incorporate or preserve the cultural landscape?” (P1 estate)

13 Interpretation: Taxonomy themes iv. Sustainability and a place for people “It doesn’t need humans to go and experience it for it to be wild. People can experience but it’s not a pre-requisite” (P1 estate) “We do want the land to be productive in the sense of employment and sporting issue” (P2 estate) “People need to realise and recognise that this can’t be done without people” (P2 estate) “Commercial forestry interests are very much going to produce an economic surplus, and that allows management of other areas” (P3 estate)

14 The wild land profiles ‘The wilderness enhancers’: restoring the land ‘Semi-naturalness’: restoring a natural ecology ‘Historical and cultural wildness’: restoring the Highlands Natural processes, Intrinsic value of nature, Experiential quality of wildness, “[...] letting nature decide what to do. In most cases this will take us to a state that existed before man started overexploiting the natural capital – so in many ways it will be going back to the future” Restoration of native woodland, Ecosystem resilience, Sustainability, “...we should not seek to hold anything in stasis, or even attempt to recreate past situations [...] Instead we should look at the positive aspects of our landscapes now, and seek to strengthen and enhance them for maximum ecological and social benefit” Cultural heritage, Sustainability, Natural regeneration “[...] caring for what we’ve got; appreciating and understanding through knowledge of the story of how it got to be what it is and recognising what is valuable in that....looking after that, but also looking forward and accepting the new and using the best of the old to build the best for the future”

15 Summary Vision of wild land AspirationsManagement approach P1.‘Nature’s autonomy & experiential wildness’ “[wild land as]...an area of land where natural processes prevail.....and where the full complement of species are present and natural processes prevail” .....a self-regulating autonomous nature, .....a perceptually ‘wilder’ landscape, .....ecological functionability & resilience ‘Let it be’  Non-interference,  Minimal intervention (although ‘corrective intervention’ is justifiable),  Landscape restoration (i.e. removing human artefacts) P2.‘Naturalness/ecosystem health’ “[wild land as] an area of semi-naturalness – ‘a natural ecology’” ....semi-natural landscapes, ....a natural, fully-functioning ecology, .....‘future naturalness’ ....integrated land uses and sustainability ‘Wild by design’  Landscape-scale restorative intervention,  On-going management intervention,  Directive, sensitive, management P3.‘Historic authenticity’ “[wild land as a] Capability Brown [...] where one can get an experience this wild feeling and where the contributions of historical, traditional practices to that sense of wildness are recognised” .....historical continuity, ......authenticity, .....safeguarding perceptual wildness, .....community ‘buy in’ and sustainability Sustainable land management  Sensitive extractive practices,  Conventional conservation practices,  Community engagement

16 The point? The significance? Recognising that wild land, and thus wilding, means radically different things to different land managers/owners Continuum concepts: Scotland’s ‘wild land ethos’ Land owners drive change

17 Thank you


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