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The Cairngorms National Park is the largest in the UK which covers 3800 sq. m. area. It has typical natural environment, cultural heritage and local communities and also included eight different natural reserves. It has wild lands, moorlands, forests, rivers, lochs and glens. The national park has Scotland’s five highest mountains. The majority area of the forest in the park is covered by pine. Spey, Dee and Don Valleys are found in lowland areas from where rivers, lochs and marshes are originated. This park has provided home for 16000 people and 25% of the UK’s threatened wildlife species. Aviemore, Ballater, Braemar, Grantowin, Kingussie, Newtonmore and Tomintoul are populated areas in the park. The park is one of the renowned outdoor recreational sites in the world. Visitors are allowed to visit the park by walking, wheelchair, horse, bicycle and boating. They can enjoy in golfing, fishing, cycling, hill walking, skiing and deer hunting.
The Cairngorms mountain area was listed as national park in 2003.It provides conservation site for pine, recreational purposes such as tourism development and deer hunting sites. The land area in the national park is occupied by certain land owner and the area is call as states. Due to the difference interest of the land owner there are conflicts in the land management. The Forestry Commission has major role and also responsibility to conserve the forest of the national park. The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has major role in management of Cairngorms which supports fund for overall management and conservation of the national park.
Due to gradual change in land used pattern natural ecosystem has changed into cropland, pasture land, tree plantation, timber harvesting and urbanisation.
The river Dee is major source of drinking water supply in Aberdeen which is originated from Cairngorm Mountain. The land management system of Deeside is divided into woodland, agriculture land, heather and forest. The woodland of the Deeside has owned by landlords or estate. Most of the forest in Cairngorms have owned privately, which are Balmoral estate and Glen Tanar. The Balmoral estate is owned and funded by the British Royal Family. The aim of the Balmoral estate is for conservation of natural environment, deer hunting and farming. The Royal Family and their guests visit the Balmoral estate for recreation. During the time they enjoy with deer shooting. Similarly, Glen Tanar was the property of a single person from Manchester in parts but now the ownership has shared with other people. The main focus of the Glen Tanar is to conserve the natural Scot pines for timber production and salmon fishing in river Dee.
Several conflicts due to human activities regarding land use pattern, biodiversity conservation, aquatic habitat, landscape in Cairngorms have been found. Major conflicts are given below
Conflict between Pine Forest and Deer Management
Balmoral estate and Glen Tanar have the same boarder. Each of the area has its own objective. Conservation of dear for hunting is the main objective of Balmoral estate and the conservation of Scot pine is the objective of Glen Tanar. The deer graze the young shoots of the pine which is nutritious for the deer. The grazing of the pine shoot by the dear is major conflict in Glen Tanar. This is the main problem for pine regeneration and deer management in the Cairngorms area. Similarly, pine forest is natural habitat of a bird called capercaillie. The bird has poor sight and low flying. The birds select the habitat of pine trees for feed, nesting and check rearing. The estate has constructed the fence to protect the pine from the grazing of the deer block the movement of the bird and decree the population of birds.
There is conflict between forest ownership and forest management sectors. Scottish Natural Heritage supports partial fund for conservation of cultural heritages of the estates. The woodland are managed by traditional estates .The private forest owners are not giving proper attention to manage wildlife and natural environment. Forestry Commission has taken the responsibility for conservation and regeneration of the forest. Overgrazing of deer and sheep in upland area of the mountain also related with the conflict to wildlife and forest conservation.
Impact on Biodiversity
The land owners who managed the private forest sell their woods which cause loss of biodiversity.
The owners have planted trees and they used agrochemicals which caused pollution in the River Dee .The pollution affects the salmon population in the river.
Some parts of the Deeside are selected to manage salmon fishing and hunting of grouse and deer. Heather and birches, fishing, skiing are beneficial for tourism. But the skiing caused change in land use and also affects the hill birds and ecology. Similarly, cycling, dog walking, hill walking, climbing are also responsible for conflict in local area.
The Cairngorms National Park has high value for natural and environmental concerns. Different issues related to conflict are still found in the national park areas. There is conflict between deer grazing and forest ownership, utilization of forest resources and land ownership land management. There is necessary to find the root causes of the conflict among the stakeholders to improve the environmental quality of the park.
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