Collaborative land-use project impresses reviewers

Final report into the management of wild deer achieves four ‘Good’ grades

News from Forest Research: January 2011

Cover of RELU case study reportThe Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) funded project on collaborative frameworks in land management was completed last year and its final report was assessed by reviewers in late 2010. The reviewers awarded four ‘Good’ grades, underlining the project’s success.

The project used the management of wild deer as a case study to investigate the role of collaborative land management in developing a sustainable rural economy, taking into account the interaction between social, economic and environmental factors. This interdisciplinary project involved data collection from a range of stakeholders at national, regional and local levels to explore and map existing management strategies, collaborations and goals, interrelationships, legitimacy, and distribution of power among those involved.

‘I would hope that ESRC [Economic and Social Research Council] and others would recognise this project as a good example of the interdisciplinary approach which RELU sought to support.’
Reviewer’s comment
Map showing GIS model of deer habitat use. Yellow circles represent sightings of groups of stags in winter. Red areas are predicted to be favoured by deer from the generic model.

All reviewers mentioned the novel technique of ‘participatory GIS’* as a highlight. This new method for constructing GIS-based maps was developed to engage with deer stalkers and managers and used as a tool for gathering local information about deer use of the habitat and facilitate discussions about management of the population.

Through the current RELU Knowledge Transfer follow-up project, training and support will be provided to agency staff and land managers to incorporate this participatory tool into practice, so that they can develop shared resource maps and foster collaboration over public and private objectives.

‘this lens on ‘Deer World’ could be foundational to delivery of improved outcomes in land management generally and hopefully this is being taken forward in the follow-up RELU KT project.’
Reviewer’s comment

The RELU team are now analysing data and preparing several papers on the study. A series of articles based on results of most interest to deer managers will soon be published in Deer.

Details about the project are available from Information on the Knowledge Transfer project is available at

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This and other news stories can be found in the January 2011 issue of FR News, our online newsletter.