It is unfortunate that George Monbiot omitted the scientific papers explaining that grouse moor management preserves and enhances these globally important heather-dominated habitats (Britain’s national parks are a farce: they’re being run for a tiny minority, 28 February); conservation work funded by shoots managing moors for heather, harriers and other wildlife.
Sustaining this management requires a clear understanding of how the ecosystem responds. So we should clarify that the Langholm Moor Demonstration study has indicated that grouse numbers will not increase, from low levels to the levels required to run a shoot, while there is a high predation pressure, much of it caused by birds of prey. It seems likely that there will be a different response when maintaining higher numbers of grouse alongside birds of prey in favourable conservation status.
This latter issue is being addressed by Defra’s hen harrier recovery plan which seeks to increase the numbers of these ground nesting birds alongside the shoots which provide their habitat, food and protection from foxes.
Director of Communications
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
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