24 March 2021
NatureScot statement: Scottish Government response to Deer Working Group report
Robbie Kernahan, NatureScot's Director of Sustainable Growth, said:
“We welcome the Scottish Government’s response, which highlights that sustainable management of Scotland’s deer is vital if we are to enhance biodiversity and achieve a net zero future. NatureScot, as Scotland’s Nature Agency, will continue to lead partners and communities to work together to achieve these goals.
“Deer are an iconic species in Scotland, but also an important source of revenue for land managers. There are sizeable challenges in shifting the rural economy away from its dependence on traditional use of the land towards a nature-rich economy, with greater focus on woodland creation and peatland restoration. This will impact many people in rural areas, and it is vital that those who live and work on the land see this as an opportunity to steer, drive and achieve positive change, and they are empowered through vital support such as local deer management groups.”
Deer are an iconic part of Scotland’s nature and contribute greatly to its biodiversity. But, in some areas, their high numbers mean they negatively affect woodlands and other habitats.
There have been significant achievements so far – most notably deer numbers have stabilised since the early 2000s with a downward trend in numbers more recently. This has lowered the density of deer per square kilometre considerably.