Does it matter how we describe our uplands?

A couple of weeks ago I received a new book on the uplands – ‘Managing Uplands Resources:new approaches for rural environments’ by Lois Mansfield. It is very good, it is 650 pages long, is a hardback and costs £50. It covers all the broad topics you would expect and in many cases interprets the issues in novel ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a good section in the book on the words we use to describe the uplands. For example, we call them ‘marginal’, ‘Less Favoured Areas’ and ‘Severely Disadvantaged Areas’.In effect we are framing uplands for what they are not very good at doing i.e. we are making them compete with the lowlands.

Instead we should be celebrating what the uplands have to offer rather than what they lack. For example we should be celebrating all the public goods they offer such as landscape, beauty, carbon storage, water supply, access, wildlife, archaeology and pasture fed cattle and sheep.

So rather than getting upland farming to compete with lowland farming (and guess what, it’s not very good at that) we should be highlighting the comparative and absolute advantages that uplands offer thereby facilitating the public money to pay for the public goods via a pastoral management system.

Lois Mansfield is Principle Lecturer in the Department of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies at the University of Cumbria. She says in her foreword

‘I hope reading this book makes our uplands more resilient to whatever is coming round the corner. Now read the book, get, get out and make a difference.

Hear Hear.

And of course use some positive language.

You can get the book on Amazon now for £45 – see here.

 

 

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