Holistic muirburn

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The Ember study findings (“Cut heather burning for the sake of the environment”, your report, 1 October) are an interesting addition to developing scientific knowledge about moorland burning.

However, we need to be aware of differences between moors in the north of England, where this study was carried out, and the cooler and wetter moors, particularly in the north of Scotland, where vegetation is also burnt for sheep grazing.

It is important that a holistic view is taken about muirburn as there are other problems where it is not done.

Muirburn limits the build-up of woody material which can cause catastrophic damage to peatlands when there is a wildfire. Many bird species such as golden plover thrive on the mixed-height habitat that results from well-managed muirburn, and tick infestations tend to be lower on muirburn areas, 
while rank unburnt heather is almost impenetrable for public access.

Muirburn in Scotland is governed by the Scottish Government’s Muirburn Code, which is undergoing a comprehensive review and will take into account all the emerging science.

Scottish Land & Estates supports, and indeed actively encourages, the delivery of public goods from private land including those which result from moorland management.

Tim Baynes

Moorland Group

Scottish Land & Estates

Musselburgh