Benefits of LSER
LSER has the following benefits.
- ecosystem functions and related services: e.g. supplying clean water, flood control and carbon storage.
- species composition and structures: enhancing natural habitats and the species they support.
- sustainability: making ecosystems better able to withstand changing conditions and pressures in the future.
Creating large-scale networks of semi-natural land
networks of semi-natural land are a major contribution to biodiversity, because some species require large area of habitat, and all species benefit from habitat being connected into larger networks.
Encouraging more integrated land use
LSER projects can bring planners and practitioners together from a number of different land-use sectors, and this forces cross-sectoral planning and management approaches. For example, many projects manage native woodland, heathland and montane habitats together; and managers therefore need to be competent across a range of habitat types.
Supporting rural development
LSER projects can support local community enterprises, use local contractors, and deliver high quality visitor facilities; and some include productive land uses. LSER activity can also be integrated into management of private estates alongside traditional agriculture, forestry and shooting.
Promoting collaborative land management
LSER projects typically involve collaborative working involving partnerships between several land owners (as at The Great Trossach Forest); land owners and local communities (as at Coigach and Assynt Living Landscapes); and owners and the land use agencies. This typically has better results than people working more in isolation.
Encouraging community engagement in land use
LSER projects often have considerable local public profile, and so can provide an effective way of engaging with communities. Sections of the public find the concept of LSER and large-scale wild land hugely uplifting and motivating. The scale of the vision can inspire action which would never arise if options were constrained to smaller projects. However LSER projects need to invest heavily in community engagement in order for this to be successful.
LSER can provide:
- a relatively low cost means of carbon sequestration, particularly projects focusing on woodland expansion and peatland restoration.
- habitat networks that allow species and habitats to move in response to climate change.
- a means of reducing of flood risks.
British Petroleum’s £10 million investment in the Scottish Forest Alliance is a sign that a major industrial company takes seriously the role of restoration projects in climate change measures.
Large areas of semi-natural habitat provides excellent opportunities for developing recreation and tourism, as the Cairngorm forests and The Great Trossachs Forest demonstrate.