CONNECT with nature to boost mental wellbeing, change your views on badgers and reduce harm to the forest creatures. Three articles in Monday’s National cover a vital issue: wildlife survival versus human activity.

As a child before the war I saw the mud flats of the Beauly Firth alive with birdlife. Three hydro dams flooded the waders’ nesting sites, and there are many fewer birds on the firth today. Badgers killed on the roads are not uncommon, I have counted half a dozen in the last six months.

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How to adjust the desire of an increasing number of people to enjoy a taste of nature without disrupting the lives of what it is they seek? Canoes on the river, mountain bikes, tourists tramping the hills, the tourist industry in general, I won’t even mention the obscenity of shooting for pleasure.

Can we find a way to protect the natural world without a shift in human behaviour? Does legislation work from behind a desk? Sea coasts to hillsides, are more protected areas one answer? It’s a major challenge, not just for the Highlands and Islands.

Iain R Thomson