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Dr John Holland

Upland Ecologist
Future Farming Systems, Hill & Mountain Research Centre

Research interests 

I am an experienced upland ecologist and keen naturalist with over twenty years experience of carrying out ecological research projects, and environmental survey, monitoring and consultancy work. I have a particular interest in mountain environments and land use systems in the hills and uplands of the UK, and of government policy within the rural environment.

My current research interests include:

  • Grassland management in the uplands
  • The ecology of upland habitats
  • Ecosystem services in the hills and uplands
  • The impact of grazing on the vegetation composition and structure of upland plant communities
  • The grazing behaviour of sheep and cattle on hill vegetation
  • The production and grazing utilisation of upland grasslands
  • The impact on biodiversity of changing livestock numbers in the hills and uplands
  • Grazing management on upland designated sites
  • Hill farm carbon footprints
  • The impact of deer and deer management on biodiversity
  • Peatland restoration
  • Farm woodlands and agroforestry

Selected research projects

  • Two glens project” - Scottish Government funded project trying to understand and assess the wide range of impacts and ecosystem service implications arising from major land use change in the uplands. This research focuses on assessing the impact of different upland management systems – akin to different stages in a ‘re-wilding’ process on terrestrial biodiversity and the supply and flow of ecosystem services. (April 2016 - April 2019).
  • Systems comparison project” - Scottish Government funded project looking at the overall sustainability of two upland sheep systems in terms of production, economics, animal health & welfare and wider environmental impacts. (April 2016 - April 2019).
  • Meeting the challenge of wild deer research to support delivery of sustainable deer management in Scotland” - Scottish Government commissioned project. The aims of this project were to review existing research on wild deer management, identify research gaps, gather stakeholder views and facilitate knowledge exchange. The research will provide a fuller, more analytical understanding of the issues involved in deer management, helping deliver targeted, informed and sustainable deer management in Scotland. (January 2016 - January 2017).
  • An Analysis of the Impact on the Natural Heritage of the Decline in Hill Farming in Scotland” - SNH commissioned project. (October 2009 - February 2011). Report published by SNH in 2011 - Holland, J. P., Morgan-Davies, C., Waterhouse, T., Thomson, S., Midgley, A. & Barnes, A. 2011. An Analysis of the Impact on the Natural Heritage of the Decline in Hill Farming in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 454.

PhD students

I am currently a co-supervisor for one postgraduate student who is investigating carbon and nitrogen cycling in Scottish upland grassland soils. He is due to complete his thesis in 2017.

Selected publications

See all of John Holland's publications.

Dr John Holland

Upland Ecologist

Address: Future Farming Systems, SRUC Hill & Mountain Research Centre, Kirkton, Crianlarich, Perthshire FK20 8RU

Telephone: 01838 400 524