This note describes the technique of heather cutting. It compares the costs and impacts of heather cutting with those of traditional muirburn. Cutting refers here to a range of mechanical techniques – including cutting itself, swiping and flailing with either blades or chains.
The workforce available for controlled muirburn has declined since 1945. This has led to either uncontrolled burning or controlled burning over very restricted areas. In some places, heather cutting has recently been used as a substitute for burning – or as an additional tool.
Cutting doesn’t produce a smoke nuisance and can be undertaken near public roads without endangering traffic. It’s also a less dangerous technique to use near communities and forestry. Find out how to replace muirburn with heather cutting.