12/12/2018

The 'great' idea of ploughing up our heather moorlands is bizarre: Our letter published in The National

It's bizarre that anyone should feel ploughing up our heather moorlands is great idea (Grouse shooting is ‘least effective’ use of Scotland's land, December 10). There is so little of it left on our planet that the 1992 Rio Convention on Biodiversity ratified the global importance of UK heather moorland. Today we have 75% of what remains in the world; and the habitat management undertaken on grouse moors preserves and enhances it.

In contrast, though, heather cover was falling sharply in the UK until the early 2000s, generally as a result of overgrazing and/or commercial forestry plantations. This matters because these heather moors support 13 biological communities listed under EC Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Flora and Fauna; and 18 species of European or international importance.

It’s time to celebrate those committed to managing our heather moorland for generations to come.

Andrew Gilruth
Director of communications at Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) 

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Comments

Heather moors and wildlife

at 18:08 on 18/12/2018 by Nick Muir

We have done our best to maintain our Heather in spite of a wet climate by judicious burning to maintain a good Heather sword of various ages. Heather beetle has been a major menace, and wiped well over 1000 acres of Heather over the last two years. Hopefully it will return, but it is the worst attack I have seen in over 50 years. Sheep stock is the same. Nesting pairs of Peewits, curlews, oyster catchers, red grouse, black grouse, golden plover, hen harriers, kestrels and Widgeon have all vanished from what was a very good small grouse moor. These were all common species 40 years ago. This is due almost entirely to the increase in predator numbers. These,collectively, have increased by more than 100 times, and this is completely unsustainable for the survival of predated species. The head of the RSPB in Scotland has told me personally, that he considers this a fantastic ecological success story. I could weep. The so called coservation groups have collectively committed the biggest 'wildlife crime' ( together with an ignorant government ) that Scotland has ever witnessed. Forestry, and meddling have destroyed 1000s of rare and declining bird species and their habitat. What is so sacred about flocks of 100s of Kites and Ravens, and a population of buzzards and carrion crows that now exterminates the wildlife in huge swaths of country, and Pinemartins which predate around 60% of of Caper nests. "The Powers that be" have gone mad and wish to destroy the only three main economic species that inhabit the poorest land areas ( deer, grouse, and salmon ) which provide jobs and income from these areas without government subsidy (tax payers money). To attempt to create government sponsored poverty in the most remote areas in stead of having private owners willing to pour in private money to sustain these areas along with the sporting tourists who come and support the local economies in these areas, is shear lunacy, often driven by spite, envy, ignorance, and social hatred.

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