Peatland Conservation Advisor - North East Scotland (Lowlands)


£28,420 - £31,529 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Closing date: Thursday, 7th July 2022  

The lowland peatlands of North East Scotland make up 17% of the total Scottish resource of this habitat. They comprise of raised and intermediate bogs with associated fens and wetlands, forming a matrix of semi-natural habitats in the otherwise improved, mixed farmland of the region. The majority of these sites fall within the River Ugie catchment and remain islands of biological interest, despite suffering degradation through drainage, agricultural encroachment, commercial extraction, tree planting and abandonment. Substantial quantities of carbon have been, and continue to be, lost from sites due to erosion and oxidation of the large expanses of bare peat. The degradation of these peatland ecosystems reduces the capacity to mitigate climate change, contributes to poor water quality through coloration and negatively impacts biodiversity. There have been various attempts to improve the status of some of these sites over the past 20 years, however, fully understanding the condition and potential of a disparate set of sites, often small and degraded, non-contiguous has slowed real progress in terms of positive management and restoration.

The successful applicant will be scoping suitable peatland restoration projects, identifying the best funding mechanisms for delivery, such as Peatland Action, Agri-Environment Schemes and Peatland Code and discussing this with landowners/managers and their agents. Where possible, preparing paperwork for the relevant applications will form part of the work.

Job purpose

To provide conservation advice to landowners/managers and decision-makers to improve the status of lowland peatlands in NE Scotland and create/maintain the relationships required to achieve this.

Raise awareness of peatlands and improve landowners/managers understanding of the significance, value and needs of these priority habitats on their land.

Provide specialist knowledge to landowners and advisory bodies to influence the implementation of restoration and carbon financing schemes, and ensure they are appropriate for the priority sites.

Contribute to the development and delivery of landscape scale peatland restoration programmes (as appropriate) to ensure integrated, effective and efficient delivery of the agreed objectives.

Build positive relationships with key external partners and stakeholders so that key conservation messages are understood and furthered within relevant partnerships and fora.

Provide operational experience to the development of the relevant UK/country/regional policy and advocacy and specialist knowledge to the development and implementation of UK, Country or regional objectives to improve the coherency of conservation delivery across the RSPB.

Carry out relevant survey and monitoring activities as required linked to the priority areas for conservation advice.

Manage relevant data and reporting systems.

Essential knowledge

  • Excellent knowledge of peatland ecosystems and the role of these in the climate and nature crisis.
  • Knowledge and understanding of a range of delivery mechanisms for peatland restoration, including emerging carbon financing schemes.
  • Understanding of the pressures on lowland peatlands.
  • Understanding of the land management practices that we are seeking to influence e.g. farming, forestry and peat extraction.
  • Understanding of the concept of landscape scale conservation.

Essential skills

  • Proven ability to influence others and negotiate desired outcomes.
  • Excellent communication skills (verbal, written and presentational) - including an ability to speak confidently and cogently in public to a variety of audiences.
  • Confident advocating a position to landowners and managers, land use agents, local politicians and members of the public who have different views.
  • Ability to form effective teams (both internal and partnership) and work effectively as a team player.
  • Competent user of core MS Office programmes.

Essential experience

  • Working experience of peatland restoration schemes (e.g. Peatland Action Fund or as part of an Agri-Environment Scheme) and their application.
  • Experience of working to survey, protect and/or manage important sites, species or habitats.
  • Experience of productive partnership working.
  • Demonstrable experience of working with multiple stakeholders.

Desirable knowledge, skills and experience

  • Effective project management skills.
  • Specialist conservation knowledge in relevant areas, such as, wetland and farmland.
  • Competency in use of GIS.
  • Budget management understanding.
  • Experience of completing grant applications, ability to meet project and reporting deadlines, including report writing.

This is a Fixed term Contract Full Time role until end of March 2024 for 37.5 hours per week. There is a possibility that this role and funding will be continued after March 2024. The RSPB reserves the right to extend or make this role permanent without further advertising dependent on business needs at the end of the contract term.

We are looking to conduct interviews for this position on 18th July 2022. For further information please contact [email protected]

As part of this application process you will be asked to complete an application form including evidence on how you meet the skills, knowledge, and experience listed above.

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

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