My research aims to inform conservation issues around two key habitats: peatlands - particularly blanket bogs; and native pinewoods. Much of my work centres on two important RSPB nature reserves in the north of Scotland: Forsinard Flows and Abernethy Forest. Here, RSPB science staff work closely with reserves staff and external researchers to compare alternative conservation actions.
At present, we are testing potential solutions to:
• Reverse population declines in key iconic species such as the common scoter and the capercaillie.
• Restore areas of blanket bog which were damaged by inappropriate forestry in the 1980's.
• Restore and expanding ancient native pinewood fragments using natural means.
In previous research projects, I have investigated the role of fire and cattle in native pinewoods, the breeding ecology of grebes and divers and effects of afforestation on breeding waders. The fire and cattle work involved establishing long-term experimental areas which we revisit periodically. We also plan new work in this area.
I manage field staff including Trevor Smith and Paul Stagg and help supervise or mentor a number of PhD and Masters students and conservation apprenticeships.
I have particular interests in using large-scale field trials or experiments to inform the development of novel conservation management techniques, the ecology and management of nutrient-poor lakes and the fire ecology of pinewoods, heaths and moors.
- 2014 to present: Advisory group member, University of the Highlands and Islands, Rivers and Lochs Institute
Partners and Collaboration
- Dr Roxane Andersen, Environmental Research Institute, University of the Highlands and Islands
- Dr Andy Douse, Scottish Natural Heritage
- Dr Rebekka Artz, James Hutton Institute
- Dr Russell Anderson, Forest Research
Dr Mark Hancock
Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science
North Scotland Regional Office, Etive House, Beechwood Park, Inverness, IV2 3BW