The Moorland Association is to be run by a woman for the first time in its 29-year history.
Amanda Anderson, 42, of Austwick, near Lancaster, has been named the inaugural director of the association, which protects more than 850,000 acres of heather moorland.
The former countryside management course manager and lecturer at Myerscough College, in Bilsborrow, near Preston, will replace the organisation’s founding secretary, Martin Gillibrand.
Mrs Anderson will be looking after the interests of fragile landscapes including areas like the Forest of Bowland, along with the £67m English grouse shooting industry.
She said: “I’m delighted to have been given this hugely important role.
“These are challenging times, not just for our organisation, but the countryside as a whole.”
The mum-of-two has spent the last 14 years looking after the association’s communications through her own company, Anderson PR Ltd, and says she has always been passionate about the organisation and its environmental ideals.
She said: “I fervently believe that careful management of heather moorlands, with grouse shooting as the lynchpin, can produce the best benefits for wildlife, landscape and local economies.
“This iconic land has safeguarded three quarters of the world’s remaining heather moorland and is a haven for exceptional and endangered species.
“The gains are enormous: water in the taps; vital ecosystems; essential habitats and the protection of remarkable flora and fauna.”
Mr Anderson will shadow Mr Gillibrand, until he retires in May.
The association’s chairman, Robert Benson, said: “Mrs Anderson is eminently qualified with expertise in grouse moor management, food, farming, environment and conservation.
“Her commitment, dedication and pragmatism made her the obvious choice.”
The association’s ambitious aims include seeing 250,000 further acres of heather moorland regenerated, boosting populations of important birds, plants and animals.
The new directorship reflects ballooning interest in moorland and peatlands through national and international wildlife and habitat designations, food security, climate change mitigation, flooding, water quality and supply.
“My work with MA continues to bridge the interests of our members’ 175 English and Welsh moors with government departments and agencies which set and regulate policies and targets for biodiversity and ecosystems,” said Mrs Anderson.
“This impacts hugely on our landowners, in whose hands true conservation rests. Sustainable goals can only be achieved if land managers are fully involved.
“The English grouse shooting industry provides vital income for conservation and supports over 1,500 jobs. This is a massive mandate and enormously exciting!”