EPICENTRE - the newsletter for Exmoor Ponies in Conservation

Exmoor Ponies in Conservation Newsletter

Issue 1 Article 8


A recent conference at John Moores University, Dr. Richard Small, 'The Use of Rare Breeds in Conservation Management' not only highlighted some of the issues and gave much needed insight into the conservation grazing management scene, but also helped to action a new project.

GAP is the result of the co-operation of Dr. Richard Small (JM) and the organisers of FACT, Forum for the Application of Conservation Techniques, Matthew Oates (National Trust), John Bacon (English Nature) and Helen Read (The Corporation of London. Although still in its infancy, the project hopes to tackle the broader issues and try to find a way through the labyrinth, which appears to characterise the conservation grazing management scene.

The project is divided into two parts. The assessment of what is required and then the supply of the identified need in terms of grazing animals and support infrastructure. Briefly, these are the 'Grazing Forum' with the purpose of gathering information on all types of grazing animal and different situations, especially on conservation sites and the 'Supplying the Animals' Working Group:- "The purpose of the 'Supplying the Animals' Working Groups is to identify and find the 'best-fit' grazing animals for a particular site irrestpective of the breed or source of supply."

    General aims (abbreviated) are:-

    1. To collect relevant information concerning types and breeds of animals, sites being grazed, and people with experience to enable data collection.

    2. To review assessments of the demand for the supply of grazing animals (cattle, sheep, ponies, goats) according to habitat, location, time of year, breed, age and sex of animal.

    3. To consider ways of meeting this demand.

    4. Give assistance and best practice advice to individuals or organisations planning to start up a grazing scheme. This may include information on welfare and shepherding.

    (ref. GAP newsletter 8th October l997)

More information can be obtained from Matthew Oates, John Bacon, Helen Read or Dr. Richard Small who can be contacted at Liverpool John Moores University. Richard Small

by Margaret Mackintosh