In 2002 the former Machair Studies Group was reconstituted within the Aberdeen Institute for Coastal Science & Management (AICSM). With the help of some financial assistance from Scottish Natural Heritage, secretarial services were provided in order to establish and maintain a database of individuals with any type of interest in Machair. At present the group has over 60 associates. There is no joining fee or membership requirements; the Group is a loose association that is designed to share information on any study or project relating to machair. Perforce, machair is mainly associated with the Western Isles of Scotland, but conscious efforts have been made to include members with a knowledge of machair as it occurs along the west coast of Ireland.
To provide an initial focus for the Group, a half-day session was included in the Littoral 2004 Conference, which took place in Aberdeen. With the permission of the chairman of Littoral 2004 (David Green), it was agreed that the papers given in this conference could be republished in expanded format by the Machair Study Group. This was completed in January 2006 in both paper and digital format, with the latter being supplied free to members of the Group (further details of this publication are given below). The publication was refereed and will have an ISBN number. It is entitled Sand Dune Machair 4 and links directly with the three earlier volumes from our ‘old’ Machair Group, which were edited by one of the founders of the group, the late Derek Ranwell.
The title also reflects early debate on the question of the uniqueness of machair – is it unique or really a type of coastal sand dune system with some distinctive, but not necessarily unique, geomorphological and ecological attributes? Hence the compromise title ‘Sand Dune Machair’. All the earlier volumes, now out of print, were scanned electronically and digital versions sent to all corresponding members on request, and this facility remains available. There is also an occasional Newsletter produced by Stewart Angus (see below).
The organisational structure is deliberately loose. The secretarial support lies within AICSM (firstname.lastname@example.org). Additional contact can be made with Scottish Natural Heritage through:
Scottish Natural Heritage
Great Glen House
If you are interested in joining, please contact: David R. Green - email@example.com.