22nd July 2019
The Moorland Association today welcomes the publication of research by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust which looks at the impact of ending grouse moor management on a range of bird species.
The GWCT study, which focused on two areas in Southern Scotland, shows that ending grouse moor management risks the decline and possible extinction of a range of species.
Among the key findings in the report are:
- Red grouse bags have declined, with 42% of 31 moors now no longer shooting red grouse.
- Increases in the numbers of hen harriers during the keepered phase of the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project contrasted with a collective decline in other SPAs in south west Scotland where there was almost no grouse keepering
- The numbers of black grouse attending leks declined by 80% during an approximate 15-year period from the early 1990s onwards. However, twice as many lekking males found where gamekeepers were employed to provide driven grouse shooting.
- In Muirkirk & North Lowther Uplands, where keeping has sharply declined, an 84% drop in golden plover population, 88% drop in lapwing and 61% drop in curlew.
Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, said: “This report is important scientific confirmation of the conservation value of grouse moor management. Land managers and gamekeepers are working day in and day out to maintain habitats where many species that would otherwise be under threat flourish.”
The GWCT report can be read here: https://www.gwct.org.uk/news/news/2019/july/new-study-reveals-huge-decline-in-bird-species-when-grouse-management-ends/