Wild Land Management Services John Muir Trust
Deer & livestock
Grazing animals and livestock should be managed carefully to achieve and maintain a balanced ecosystem

The UK’s deer population has increased greatly in the last decades. Deer are an essential part of the ecosystem but high numbers of deer have a negative impact on habitats through overgrazing and trampling. A sustainable deer population is vital to enabling native woodland and other habitats to regenerate naturally.

A large amount of wild land is used for grazing sheep and cattle. Many key habitats, including grassland and flower-rich machair, depend on sustainable levels of grazing. Livestock numbers should be kept to a level that the land can naturally support, particularly during the winter.

Standards 13-15 relate to deer and livestock

Control grazing pressure from deer and livestock
Low impact management

Sustainable grazing

“While ‘under-grazing’ is an issue for some habitats, in most of the uplands the bigger threat comes from overgrazing. Overgrazing by deer and sheep, combined with artificial burning can suppress natural processes such as woodland regeneration.”

Mike Daniels, Head of Land Management, John Muir Trust