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Wednesday, 19/Aug/2009

Islay, Farming and Nature Conservation

Picture of dunes and machair around a wide bay

One of the main industries on Islay apart from whisky and tourism is still farming with farmland in various forms dotted around many places on the island. Together with farming the question of nature conservation often comes up. It won't come as a big surprise that the RSPB is a big landowner on Islay, some of which I've already mentioned in the Chough Conservation on Islay (and in Portugal) entry. Recently I found another website of an organisation interested in the topic, the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (quite a mouthful that name…).

The main goal of the forum is the conservation of High Nature Value (HNV) farmland, which helps to support biodiversity. You can read more about in the HNV Farming section of the website. From an Islay point of view the HNV Showcase section is the interesting part. Among places from all over Europe like the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, South West Germany and Roslagen in Sweden we find the Scottish Hebrides, with a heavy focus on Islay.

In the Info-Gallery Islay we find land types, mixed farming and extensive grazing systems with some well designed displays. The Info-Gallery Chough also has a very large Islay focus, many birders come to Islay just to see them. The machair on Islay is quite small, so the Info-Gallery Machair mainly focuses on the Outer Hebrides, nevertheless an interesting section to look at.

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