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National parks (Scotland)

After almost 60 years since the idea was first suggested, the newly devolved government of Scotland established the first National Park in 2002.

A second National park is soon to be established in the Cairngorms[?] area.

Like the National Parks in England and Wales, neither of the Scottish parks can be considered to be a 'true' National Park, in the sense of a wilderness area kept largely free from human development. The majority of the land is in private ownership; more importantly, much of the land has been too heavily exploited by agricultural and sporting interests for the landscape and ecosystem to be considered natural. Like their English and Welsh counterparts, then, the parks in Scotland are effectively "managed landscapes".

Conservationists argue that this would not be so bad if the landscapes had been historically managed with sympathy for indigenous flora and fauna, but like many areas of the Scottish Highlands, historical deforestation, overgrazing by sheep and deer, and extensive 20th Century aforestation with non-native tree species, have resulted in landscapes without much integrity. It is hoped that the new National parks will address these issues; however, concerns remain that tourism interests and developers may have more influence than conservationists in the management of the new park areas.

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