IT is good to see Francesca Osowska, chief executive of Scottish Natural Heritage, speaking with enthusiasm, once again, about the importance of nature-based solutions in helping to prevent or mitigate the impacts of climate change ("Solution to climate change can be found in the wild", The Herald, March 9). Her biggest challenge, if wild places really are part of the solution, is overgrazing by red deer.

On March 18 she will address the annual meeting of Scotland’s Association of Deer Management Groups. This gathering brings together landowners and advisers for whom tradition, stag count and sporting value appear to be of much greater concern than climate change. The SNH CEO needs to tell them that reducing deer numbers over thousands of hectares of Scottish hill land is probably the single most important thing they can do if climate change is to be tackled by everyone. And she must ask why key estates appear to be so far behind the curve on this issue.

Why, for example do deer counts (March 2017) on many parts of Glen Avon Estate in the Cairngorms National Park show in excess of 50 deer per square kilometre, when a maximum of five deer are appropriate in that location? This excessive population can easily move onto RSPB land to the north and National Trust for Scotland land to the south, severely restricting the expansion of natural forest in these conservation areas. Elsewhere in the national park SNH has been engaged for nearly 20 years in endless efforts to persuade Balmoral Estate and its neighbours, which today form the South Grampian Deer Management Group, to reduce deer numbers to a level that allows forest and montane habitats to recover.

Ms Osowska, in highlighting two major international conferences on biodiversity and climate change due in Scotland this year, should be calling on the Royal Family to lead the way at Balmoral, encouraging others to follow a much more rigorous policy of culling red deer to secure the natural regeneration of vegetation. Otherwise the SNH CEO’s determination “to respond robustly and effectively, together with everyone in Scotland, to ensure our natural world is part of the solution, not part of the problem”, will have failed at the first hurdle. And she will no longer be able to claim at these conferences that “in Scotland, we take our responsibilities very seriously and want to lead the way globally”.

Dave Morris, Kinross.