The alarming news that many of Scotland’s endangered and rare species could be extinct within a generation is extremely worrying.

If our Scottish Government is serious about being not only carbon neutral but being seen to be protecting our biodiversity, then maybe they should look at modifying some of the practices used by large estates in the Highlands.

Recent years have seen the felling of vast areas of conifers, many of which are now being re-planted. If these areas which have been recently re-planted or will be re-planted in the near future were to have a minimum of 10 per cent, although preferably 20 per cent, indigenous hardwoods then there may be a solution to protect such animal species as seriously endangered wild cats and also pine martens.

By totally enclosing these areas and excluding human intrusion apart from that required for estate management, these areas would act as sanctuaries in which these species would be secure.

To encourage such a policy, which would also include a provision that hunting would be banned in such areas (except in the cases where, for example, red deer had gained entry and required removal to protect the trees), a period of, say, 15 years before any access was allowed would be required. Corridors allowing deer migration would also need to be left open.

For estates to sign up to such a policy the Government could offer that the areas excluded from hunting would be exempt from any sporting rates.

Not only pine martens and wild cats would benefit, but also other flora and fauna, including many of our rarer bird species such as goshawks and Scottish crossbills.

Surely any policy which could help our endangered species is worthy of consideration, even if it would remove the “right to roam” from what in reality would be a small percentage of our hills and glens.

It would also be easier to police wildlife crime as anyone within these fenced areas except those authorised by the estates, would in effect be committing a wildlife crime.

Prof. Eric McVicar,

Lecturer in Sustainable Ecology,


I was interested to read of the Glasgow City Council plans to promote biodiversity (“From industrial powerhouse to embracing the power of flowers”, The Herald, October 8).

Kelvingrove Park was a wonderful facility for those of us that worked around that area where, during fair weather one could spend a little time during one’s lunch break.

The walk from Clifton Street towards the fountain had wonderful herbaceous borders either side which were a mass of colour and absolutely alive with butterflies, bees and other insects.

One year these borders were inexplicably replaced with a new range of plants which never replaced the the masses of flowers that had existed previously. I look forward to the colour and interest that these latest proposals promise.

Duncan Miller,