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

Scotland’s red deer population has increased greatly in the last 300 years. 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 Scotland’s 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

Trees in Knoydart

“Knoydart is a beautiful and dramatic landscape in one of the most remote parts of Scotland. However, much of the habitat has been devastated through centuries of over-grazing by sheep and deer.

Due to the lack of seed source, we originally had to plant native tree species on Trust land. Now, thanks also to our deer control, we’re starting to see natural regeneration of birch, hazel and scots pine, among others, which is hugely rewarding.

We are already seeing a return of native wildlife that’s been lost in this amazing part of the world. As the years go by we will see further increases.”

Lester Standen, Knoydart manager, John Muir Trust