Do the University of Sheffield people from their Department of Landscape who posted this piece on the university's website understand what they have been doing? I think probably not. They ought to of course, but it can't be taken for granted. Coming from where they do we would hope they might understand some of the issues around management of the uplands, but they could have taken on trust what SRWT told them and seen it as an opportunity to use some of their latest gadgetry – and that must be a temptation.
They claim they are aiding SRWT's work by mapping “areas in which bracken and non-native trees are affecting the moorland.” Non-native trees? Birch and Oak and Holly?
Do they know that SRWT has been removing these native trees in their farm management agenda? And what are their views on wildlife management? Did they put forward any suggestions to SRWT's management plan, referred to? Are they aware of opposition from local users?
The dystopian symbolism is unavoidable: drones, reconnaissance, invaders, war zones, remote operations, ethnic cleansings. Could the next step be the annihilation of native and non-native trees remotely, with buttons pressed at SRWT's headquarters or even the university's Arts Tower? As with warfare in other spheres, why bother with conventional weapons or boots on the ground?