Senior Nature Conservation Officer - Woodlands

Organisation: The National Trust for Scotland

Salary: £38,557 - £42,479 pro-rata, per annum

Location: Edinburgh (Hybrid)


The National Trust for Scotland is one of the largest land managers in Scotland. The Trust has an exceptionally high level of responsibility for biodiversity, landscape and natural resources, managing many of the most important sites in the UK for nature. Indeed, some are of European and global significance including a World Heritage Site, National Nature Reserves, sites hosting rare and endemic species and some of Scotland’s best loved landscapes.
The land where the Trust has an interest include the full breadth of Scottish geology, landscape and ecology from the benthic zone of the Fair Isle Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area, several of the largest seabird colonies in Europe, across the machair of the Hebrides to the temperate rainforests of the Atlantic coast. Inland the Trust is custodian of several of the finest assemblages of mountain habitats and species in the UK and iconic landscapes such as Glencoe.
The Senior Nature Conservation Officers have a national remit for nature conservation at the Trust, including leading (through building understanding & consensus), guiding (in a technical sense) and coordinating a particular nature conservation topic, e.g., woodland, upland, farmland or marine.
Working collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders, they develop and deploy nature conservation, strategy, standards, policy, programmes, guidance and support to regions and head office on nature conservation matters within their topic.
The roles also provide general ecological support and advice to selected Trust properties and other wider ecological support as is required to be fulfilled by the team.


Leadership & policy
• Develop and maintain NTS policies and approaches in relation to the specified nature conservation topic, either woodland, farmland, upland or marine (hereafter “the topic”).
• Maintain expert knowledge of external policy and practice in relation to the topic and oversight of its conservation at the Trust, leading knowledge sharing of the topic, for example via networks, working groups, and individual advice.
• Technically guide, support, facilitate and where necessary coordinate nature conservation operations in relation to the topic across the Trust through national programming, linking up as necessary to central support functions.
• Review and develop policy in relation to the topic at the Trust, working alongside Trust policy officers plus other internal and external stakeholders, including the relevant Scottish Environment Link working group.
• Champion the Trust’s policy positions in relation to the topic through the development and delivery of advocacy messages, including through formal consultation responses and communications – where necessary acting as a Trust spokesperson.
Conservation operations, standards and reporting
• Provide tactical advice to national estates and operational teams on the management and conservation of nature at NTS in relation to the topic, typically at and below Operational Manager level.
• Provide technical input, for example prescriptions for nature conservation management.
• Champion best practice and innovation in nature conservation across NTS operations, encouraging energy and focus across the Trust’s conservation work.
• Represent the Trust within partnerships, forming new partnerships where required.
• Work with the fundraising team to identify and secure funding, including agri-environment grants, natural capital investment and charitable income e.g., grants.
• Lead or contribute to nature conservation projects, e.g., technical support to steering groups, identifying suitable activities and developing budgets.
• Responsible for developing land management standards for specific conservation topics, including the Biodiversity Indicator.
• Audit biodiversity indicator performance contributing to reporting against the Trust’s corporate strategy.
• Design and coordinate targeted monitoring programmes as necessary to inform the biodiversity indicator.
• Procure, brief and manage contractors as required, typically for topic specific technical work.
• Be the first point of contact for general conservation land management advice on ecology, landscape and geology, for a selected number of properties and occasionally develop or support activities in areas outside your topic, working flexibly with other Senior Nature Conservation Officers as required.
Public Engagement, Research and External Relationships
• Provide technical input for participation and engagement with nature in relation to supporting colleagues in the Public Engagement and Research Directorate.
• Develop your own and other Trust staff’s research projects and form effective external relationships to facilitate research opportunities in relation to our conservation objectives.
• Develop nature content for Trust media staff. i.e., drafting content for press releases, the Trust magazine and website, collaborating with other internal content creators.
• Undertake planning casework where required for NTS sites and where the Trust has an interest in developments threatening external sites of national importance for nature, with guidance from the policy team.
• Represent the Trust in respect of the topic on national fora.
• Contribute to, and where appropriate lead strategic stakeholder relationships in relation to the topic through engagement with organisations including NatureScot, environmental NGOs, Scottish Environment LINK and relevant Scottish Government departments.
Other relevant duties which may arise

Ways of Working

The Senior Nature Conservation Officers work as a team of individuals taking a national, Trust wide lead on specific topics such as woodland, upland, farmland and marine.
The Senior Nature Conservation Officers will also be the first point of contact on general nature conservation matters including geology and landscape, for staff at selected Trust properties but are not expected to be expert in all conservation areas.
The Senior Nature Conservation Officers report to the Head of Nature Conservation and may line manage project staff, and/or commission contractors.
The Senior Nature Conservation Officers will work closely with colleagues in the Policy and Communications teams, in relation to their topic, to ensure our advocacy messages reach their target audiences. They will lead on their policy topic, with support from policy colleagues.
The Senior Nature Conservation Officers will work closely with colleagues in the Public Engagement and Research Directorate to develop opportunities for engagement with nature, internal research, and external research liaison for their topic and properties/reserves.
The Senior Nature Conservation Officers will represent the Trust’s nature conservation policy and practice on national fora and maintain strategic stakeholder relationships, both in relation to their topic and with the properties to which they are linked.
The incumbent will require a flexible attitude with an ability to prioritise and re-prioritise workload in the face of changing demands. They will be able to work longer hours and/or nights away and have a driving licence, current for driving within the United Kingdom and willingness to travel across Scotland to remote locations.


• National level expertise and well developed experience in relation to the topic.
• Experience of leading major nature conservation projects.
• Ability to communicate technical ecological information, achieving strategic influence at an organisational level as well as on the ground.
• Experience of coordinating land management planning at a national level in relation to the topic.
• Experience of collating and managing ecological/biological survey data across the full range of standards and methods in relation to the topic.
• Experience of cross organisational and inter organisational partnership working at a strategic level, with an ability to demonstrate integration, influence and personal impact.
• Detailed understanding of current science in relation to the topic.
• Understanding of nature engagement, media and interpretation.
• Experience of developing and maintaining professional networks.
• A degree level qualification or equivalent in a relevant ecological, biological, or environmental discipline.
• Ability to deal with conflicts in organisational priorities, working styles and personality types, including listening, negotiation and diplomacy skills.

 Experience of being a nature conservation topic lead or specialist within an organisation.
 A recognised sector specialism, leading a network, county/regional coordinator for a recording scheme or author of published material.
 Experience of policy development & advocacy.
 Published research, guidance or survey, in relation to the topic.
 Experience of ecological audits.
 Experience of fundraising and/or grant applications.
 A relevant postgraduate qualification.
 Experience of planning casework.
 Experience of the Scottish parliamentary processes including committee evidence processes.
 licensed, protected species worker for at least one species/species group.
 Experience of contributing to Scottish Environment Link or government agency policy groups or similar.
 Experience of developing and deploying citizen science projects.
 Experience of delivering practical nature conservation, farming, forestry or marine management on the ground in relation to the topic.
 Experience of line management and/or contract management/procurement.
 Recognised Project management qualification.
 Social media presence in relation to the topic.


People Management
 Guiding regional directors, operations managers and property managers in relation to nature conservation land management standards and risks.
 Networking with partners in peer organisations at a national & strategic level.
 Line management of temporary and project staff, and of volunteers
Finance Management
 Budget management of operational budget up to £50k. Collation of budgets up to £1.5m.

Place in organisational structure:

Director of Conservation and Policy

Head of Nature Conservation

Senior Nature Conservation Officer x 3 (Upland, Farmland & Woodland).

The Purpose, Context, Key Responsibilities, and Person Specification reflect the requirements of the job at the time of issue. The Trust reserves the right to amend these with appropriate consultation and/or request the post-holder to undertake any activities that it believes to be reasonable within the broad scope of the job or his/her general abilities.

Application Deadline: Sunday 16/07/2023