So it’s the RSPB’s fault, is it?

The facts, however, are simple: our managed grouse moors represent some of the most important areas for wildlife in Britain. I do not shoot — only rabbits in our vegetable garden — but a properly managed grouse/heather moor creates a mosaic of habitats with young heather, longer heather, patches of upland flora and areas deliberately dampened to create wet flushes for insects.

Fire breaks are created too, which seem to have been missing on the thousands of acres of Saddleworth Moor managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Altogether the RSPB manages about 150,000 acres of moorland and blanket bog, much in partnership with United Utilities, and its methods mean we’re likely to see many more fires this summer.

Note it’s Robin Page, so careful with this news. But still…..

16 comments on “So it’s the RSPB’s fault, is it?

  1. Most of our moors are unnatural wastelands created by man clearing forests so entirely artificial and even more so when the forestry commission or landowners plant foreign uni species of trees in neat little regimented commercial packets on them.

  2. If we built on them, a few Stately Homes with drives, a walled garden, and some stabling perhaps, along with some Tiu Keng Leng style high rises on the lower slope then the fire risk would be dealt with.
    There might be more bird life too.

  3. @ BraveFart
    “*Most* of our moors” are not peat bogs.
    Grouse moors tend to be very peaty, with moderate drainage –
    an admixture of walkable terrain with patches of bog.
    Very few trees will grow in peat bogs, so I doubt whether many, if any, grouse moors result from forest clearance.

  4. The North Yorkshire moors – land of my fathers — consist of sandstone areas and limestone areas. Sandstones erode slowly and form poor acid soils which are deficient in nutrients. They are less permeable to water, impeding drainage and encouraging the formation of bogs. Limestone weathers down quickly to produce nutrient rich alkaline soils on well drained rocks.

    As for the RSPB, it is a big ‘charity’, and I doubt its competence. Long-standing and stable private ownership of important habitats is usually better. Just consider the National Trust’s antics in Swaledale.

  5. Firebreaks could have been created at any time in past decades. But not created as risk is small.

    How many firebreaks exist in cities in case of great fires?

  6. “Most of our moors are unnatural wastelands created by man clearing forests”: depends what you mean by “our”. The moors of the West Highlands seem to be an entirely natural creation. Grazing by deer, domesticated cattle, and sheep must have altered the detail compared to what presumably was the original grazing by deer, wild cattle, and elk.

    Most beliefs about landscape history are utter bunk: if you want some science read Oliver Rackham.

  7. The only reliable long-term custodians of the environment are aristocrats who hunt.

    So I am mildly committed to the idea of Scotland’s formerly primaeval forests but I am not sure I believe in them. At any rate, if they were not grouse moors they would be something much worse. So bring on the shooters I say.

  8. I would sooner believe Robin Page than Monbiot or Packham

    I have to disagree. I would like to see Moonbat and Spackham’s ‘re-wilding’ ideas fully implemented. By which I mean I would only be satisfied once both men and their families had been eaten by wolves. Or bears maybe…

  9. dearieme – roads stop spread of fire? There aren’t places where a fire has spread over a road?

  10. “I am mildly committed to the idea of Scotland’s formerly primaeval forests”: don’t be. The legend of a huge Caledonian Forest stretching more or less continuously across the Highlands into, say, the Bronze Age, or the Iron Age, or even the second millennium AD, is bollocks. Pollen studies, you know – pretty conclusive.

  11. Cities have had ordinances specifically to prevent fires for centuries. It was those that stopped thatched houses in English cities.

    I’ve just been visiting Salzburg which, after a fire, prevented any rebuilding in wood, and specifically shingles on the roof.

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