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Nature exchange in Latvia 2012


Click here to open .pdf file Latvia Report September 2012

This report focuses on the different themes associated with our visit including forestry, hunting, wild foods, beavers, access and wetland management. Our impressions were many. The combination of a strong forest economy, a forward thinking industry spearheading cloning techniques creating trees suitable for […]
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Capercaillie in the Vosges Mountains. Joint Report

Vosges Mountains

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The views from the top were spectacular, from the steep cliffs and scree used by chamois, to the wooded valleys heading off in all directions, to the distant high peaks of the German and Swiss Alps.

Capercaillie in Vosges. Joint Report The exchange was hosted by […]
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Beaver Study Tour to Bavaria, 2012. Group report


There is currently considerable interest in re-introducing the European Beaver (Castor fiber) back to Scotland, reflected in the reintroduction trial that is currently taking place in Knapdale Forest in Argyll, and public reaction to the population of beavers on Tayside that have arisen from escapes from private collections.

Archnetwork secured funding via the Leonardo […]
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More Audible than Visible–Joint report from Poland

Our introduction to Park Narodowy Ujście Warty (Warta Mouth National Park) was that of a grey polder landscape at early dawn that was more audible than visible. We could hear the distant sounds of geese and, the reason for being there at that hour, cranes. Standing on one of the dikes, which signified the polder landscape, we counted up to 1200 cranes in the coming hours. While the relatively small flocks of cranes flew over, unaware of the fact that they were being recorded, the many shades of grey were filled in by even more shades of green and brown. In between counting we admired the abundance of great egrets, more familiar greylag geese and the occasional raptor (buzzard, red kite, marsh harrier and white tailed eagles). Later we were told that there are over 270 bird species recorded (of which 64 are listed in the Birds Directive), with 170 species breeding here. There are also 11 species of amphibian, 3 species of reptile, 39 species of mammal (including 115 beaver families), 35 species of fish and over 500 species of vascular plants recorded. Invasive species include the American mink and raccoon (for more information see: […]
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Nature Exchange Joint Report–Slovenia 2012

on the path to Hell

Our Slovenian host Bojan had arranged for a cultural exchange evening where three ladies from the Society of Rural Women volunteered to teach four of us how to cook traditional Slovenian dishes, while three more were taught by the remaining three Scots how to make traditional Scottish dishes. This all went smoothly and during this hour, the wonderful ladies from the Society of Rural Women had been busy putting together the final touches for the meal and were ready right on cue to bring out the food. We took it in turn to stand with our respective teacher/pupil to talk through the dish produced – Gordon gave a brilliant introduction to the haggis! And that was it; we tucked in and ate and talked with various people, we taught many of them the dance Strip The Willow with varying success, although everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In return we were taught a traditional Slovenian dance – in comparison it was very tame and a good way to wind down the evening! […]
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Milking Time

On day 1 we stopped in Ciclova Romana and Manuela went to collect sheep’s cheese. It was as if we’ve stepped back in time: green grass transported by horse drawn cart, hens pecking about, a cock crowing and the smell of mown hay and dung. When I went to primary school in the early 60s we passed a field with the last working horse; all farms had tractors by then. We hardly saw farm machinery in this part of Romania. Ten yards after the village of Ciclova Romana ends Ciclova Montana begins. We stayed there in a village house, within walking distance of forests, meadows and the Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park. We tried local produce and experienced some rhythms of village life, as we ate our first meal we heard bells from cows being driven home for milking. One day the water pump broke and we brought in water from the well in the garden and used the toilet there which emptied into the river rushing past. […]
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Bulgarian Nature Exchange 2012

Pan Parks

The group was intrigued to learn that forestry age is measured differently in Bulgaria where the mean age of trees is used rather than the length of time the area has been afforested. This is due to the influence of other European countries where a more holistic approach through continuous forestry methods are adopted. This is unlike Scottish forestry which is still in the infancy of this and mostly managed on a financial /accountancy basis. The oldest tree in the park was a 500 year old beech. The group asked several questions about deer but it was apparent there was no problem with high densities due to a combination of factors, primarily predation by wolves and anthropogenic hunting. One of the rangers stated that there were probably less than one deer per 100 ha. The hunting in the region is managed by local hunting groups and licenses are issued by the Ministry for Food and Agriculture. […]
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2012 East Slovakia ARCHNetwork Nature Exchange – joint report

Funding organisation: Leonardo de Vinci organisation Promoting organisation: ARCH, Scotland Host organisation: Krajina, Slovakia


Main themes from week

1) Large extent and naturalness of woodland cover – Slovakia has 40% woodland cover nationally with a higher proportion in the areas we visited. Some of the woodland in National Parks is left entirely […]
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Nature Exchange Norway 2012 Report

The area of Norway we visited has a number of large herbivores present in its woodlands. These include Moose, red and roe deer, with Reindeer found further north. Looking at the sites we visited their impact on the regeneration of the forests seems to be minimal, despite the fact that pinus spp. are generally prone to browsing damage. In contrast to scotland where these herbivores are generally treated as a pest in forestry terms, in Norway they are treated as a valuable forest resource, giving an valuable annual income from the sale of shooting rights and meat/skins. (up to £2800/moose for meat alone). The only area where we saw a substantial impact on forestry was in areas where the moose were fed in the winter. Winter feeding is carried out to draw the animals away from the valleys and roads in winter, and this increase in densty in the feeding areas has had a major impact on the regeneration of trees. David Bale […]
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This is a personal report on a visit to Skalanes Natural and Heritage Centre 17-23 June 2012. The visit was promoted and organised by the ARCH Trainer Exchange (Nature Exchange 9) and funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European Commission.

Flying from Glasgow to […]