Letter: Plan needed to manage trees

MANY people will be saddened to see Stewart Cumming has resigned as head stalker at Mar Lodge in controversial and disappointing circumstances (News, 12 December).

I am very much in favour of regenerating woodlands without fencing, but in some areas it is not possible. The National Trust for Scotland are quite entitled to manage their land as they see fit, but progress has to be measured against targets set, and strategies changed if things are not working.

The current regeneration focus on Mar Lodge dates primarily from 2005, five years ago. This is a short time in the history of a pine forest, but long enough to constitute a suitable review period.

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We need a proper management plan based on a review of progress to date, not another deer and trees argument that generates more heat than light. What has been the total public investment over five years at Mar Lodge and what new woodland area has been established? Are the gains proportionate with the costs? What realistically can be achieved going forwards?

Ultimately, that will be of greater use to Mar Lodge, its stalkers, government agencies and the public.

Victor Clements, Scottish Native Woods, Aberfeldy

Have members of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) been consulted by the trustees of the charity as to their opinion over the mass culling of deer on the Mar Lodge Estate (News, 12 December)?

Supporters of the NTS should tell the people they employ whether or not they want their subscription money used to buy fences to protect trees or bullets to shoot deer which have come down off the hills to seek shelter from extreme winter weather.

The use of large amounts of public money to subsidise controversial culling should be withdrawn.

John F Robins, Animal Concern, Dumbarton