'A disgrace to a farmer'

Conservation and agriculture on a nature reserve in Islay, Scotland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article is an investigation into contestations about the landscape of Loch Gruinart, a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) on the Scottish island of Islay. Farmers argued that the low-lying areas of the reserve should have been farmed more intensively to support higher numbers of geese, which farmers disliked because they caused damage to their own grass crops. Instead, the RSPB managed the land to support wetland species through less intensive agricultural practices and by flooding fields. The article takes a symbolic approach that focuses on the ambiguity of Loch Gruinart as both a farm and nature reserve. It is argued that this enables the reserve to be used as a metaphor of relations between conservation and farming. The article demonstrates how farmers used the reserve both to situate themselves and to claim that the reserve was not a real farm. In response, RSPB staff argued for the logic of their management and advocated education and community involvement as a means to help farmers understand their aims. Such controversies, it is argued, are a consequence of conservationists’ attempts to bring non-humans into the political arena and can thus be seen as essential to the integration of conservation into Islay rather than inimical to it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalConservation and Society
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Fingerprint

nature reserve
Scotland
conservation areas
farmers
agriculture
farm
birds
agricultural practice
community service
lakes
farms
flooding
geese
wetland
grass
education
damage
crop
wetlands
farming systems

Keywords

  • anthropology
  • contestation
  • farming
  • Islay
  • landscape
  • local communities
  • RSPB

Cite this

'A disgrace to a farmer' : Conservation and agriculture on a nature reserve in Islay, Scotland . / Whitehouse, Andrew.

In: Conservation and Society, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2009, p. 165-175.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{9f29df8932a84310b12d7bded78b0e48,
title = "'A disgrace to a farmer': Conservation and agriculture on a nature reserve in Islay, Scotland",
abstract = "This article is an investigation into contestations about the landscape of Loch Gruinart, a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) on the Scottish island of Islay. Farmers argued that the low-lying areas of the reserve should have been farmed more intensively to support higher numbers of geese, which farmers disliked because they caused damage to their own grass crops. Instead, the RSPB managed the land to support wetland species through less intensive agricultural practices and by flooding fields. The article takes a symbolic approach that focuses on the ambiguity of Loch Gruinart as both a farm and nature reserve. It is argued that this enables the reserve to be used as a metaphor of relations between conservation and farming. The article demonstrates how farmers used the reserve both to situate themselves and to claim that the reserve was not a real farm. In response, RSPB staff argued for the logic of their management and advocated education and community involvement as a means to help farmers understand their aims. Such controversies, it is argued, are a consequence of conservationists’ attempts to bring non-humans into the political arena and can thus be seen as essential to the integration of conservation into Islay rather than inimical to it.",
keywords = "anthropology , contestation , farming , Islay , landscape , local communities , RSPB",
author = "Andrew Whitehouse",
year = "2009",
doi = "10.4103/0972-4923.64733",
language = "English",
volume = "7",
pages = "165--175",
journal = "Conservation and Society",
issn = "0972-4923",
publisher = "Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - 'A disgrace to a farmer'

T2 - Conservation and agriculture on a nature reserve in Islay, Scotland

AU - Whitehouse, Andrew

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - This article is an investigation into contestations about the landscape of Loch Gruinart, a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) on the Scottish island of Islay. Farmers argued that the low-lying areas of the reserve should have been farmed more intensively to support higher numbers of geese, which farmers disliked because they caused damage to their own grass crops. Instead, the RSPB managed the land to support wetland species through less intensive agricultural practices and by flooding fields. The article takes a symbolic approach that focuses on the ambiguity of Loch Gruinart as both a farm and nature reserve. It is argued that this enables the reserve to be used as a metaphor of relations between conservation and farming. The article demonstrates how farmers used the reserve both to situate themselves and to claim that the reserve was not a real farm. In response, RSPB staff argued for the logic of their management and advocated education and community involvement as a means to help farmers understand their aims. Such controversies, it is argued, are a consequence of conservationists’ attempts to bring non-humans into the political arena and can thus be seen as essential to the integration of conservation into Islay rather than inimical to it.

AB - This article is an investigation into contestations about the landscape of Loch Gruinart, a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) on the Scottish island of Islay. Farmers argued that the low-lying areas of the reserve should have been farmed more intensively to support higher numbers of geese, which farmers disliked because they caused damage to their own grass crops. Instead, the RSPB managed the land to support wetland species through less intensive agricultural practices and by flooding fields. The article takes a symbolic approach that focuses on the ambiguity of Loch Gruinart as both a farm and nature reserve. It is argued that this enables the reserve to be used as a metaphor of relations between conservation and farming. The article demonstrates how farmers used the reserve both to situate themselves and to claim that the reserve was not a real farm. In response, RSPB staff argued for the logic of their management and advocated education and community involvement as a means to help farmers understand their aims. Such controversies, it is argued, are a consequence of conservationists’ attempts to bring non-humans into the political arena and can thus be seen as essential to the integration of conservation into Islay rather than inimical to it.

KW - anthropology

KW - contestation

KW - farming

KW - Islay

KW - landscape

KW - local communities

KW - RSPB

U2 - 10.4103/0972-4923.64733

DO - 10.4103/0972-4923.64733

M3 - Article

VL - 7

SP - 165

EP - 175

JO - Conservation and Society

JF - Conservation and Society

SN - 0972-4923

IS - 3

ER -