The PLMA Wildlife Estates Collaboration
Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) is an accreditation that aims to promote the best habitat and wildlife management practices. WES focuses on building information on species and their habitats, wildlife management, conservation projects and integration with other land uses to monitor continuous improvement.
The PLMA provides its members (comprising farmers and land managers) with a network and platform to collaborate on shared biodiversity goals in the Pentland Hills. We believe WES is a good fit for our holistic, landscape-scale biodiversity aspirations. Through WES, with carefully coordinated data collection and analysis, we are working towards the creation of scientifically informed wildlife plans. As these plans are put into practice, WES shall also provide the framework for monitoring their progress.
The PLMA is proud to be a pioneer in creating the first known collaboration of land managers through WES. Covering 6 land holdings and over 15,000 acres (and still growing) of the Pentlands, this is a truly aspirational collaboration at a significant landscape scale. At this scale, the creation of meaningful wildlife networks becomes possible. Importantly, this is happening in close proximity to the urban fringe of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city.
Together, the group has self-funded an extensive habitat and biodiversity survey of the area. This will become our baseline data-set which will inform decision making. Having comprehensive data on which species currently thrive in the hills will allow us to intelligently balance the needs of our native wildlife, our small rural businesses, and of public access and recreational usage of the hills. With this comprehensive insight into existing biodiversity and habitats, a deep understanding of the current issues and pressures facing rural businesses and land managers, and a strong desire to nurture biodiversity to the benefit of all, we are confident the PLMA x WES collaboration will become both visionary and exemplary.
Sharing the story and the landscape
Sharing of the collated data and actions it inspires will be central to the success of this collaboration. This will take place by means of a combined education and public engagement exercise allowing all stakeholders of the Pentlands to work together for our common benefit and ultimately a Regional Park with biodiversity at its core.
Partnerships shall be as important to the ongoing success of this project as information sharing. We look forward to engaging further with the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon, NatureScot and the RSPB as we progress.