Des Thompson

Professor at the Scottish Natural Heritage, United Kingdom

Silvan House, 231 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 7AT, UK
+44 131 316 2630


Des was brought up in a small village in northern Scotland. He manages policy, research and advisory work on biodiversity and climate change, and has led some of Britain’s upland nature conservation work for the government and its agencies. Recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and of Hatfield College, Durham University, he is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

He has published more than 200 papers, articles and books, including Ecological Change in the Uplands;   Heaths and Moorland – cultural landscapes;   Tundra Plovers;   Birds of Prey in a Changing Environment;   Mountains of Northern Europe: conservation, management, nature and people; Alpine Biodiversity in Europe; and The Changing Nature of Scotland.   His latest book, co-edited with John and Hilary Birks, is on one of the world’s foremost experts on nature conservation: Nature’s Conscience: the life and legacy of Derek Ratcliffe).

Last year Des was elected Chairman of the UN Convention on Migratory Species’ Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia Technical Advisory Group. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Ecology, and Chairman of the Field Studies Council – the UKs leading provider of outdoor environmental education.


Combined valuation of cultural and natural heritage

In Britain, as in much of northern Europe, the landscape is cultural, though in many parts heavily influenced by natural processes. My talk is divided into three parts. First, I will give examples of natural and cultural landscapes in northern regions, and the importance attached to these. Second, I will outline work we have undertaken to contrast the valuation of upland/mountain landscapes and the driving forces of change. As an example, I will draw on work we have carried out on a number of protected areas in Scotland and Norway. Third, I will outline some further questions and challenges to try and reconcile cultural and natural heritage approaches.

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