07 October 2019

GWCT statement on Langholm Moor Demonstration Project final report

The final report of the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project (2008 – 2017) has now been published and is available to download online.

Teresa Dent, chief executive of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and GWCT Director for the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project board commented:

“This final report concludes a period of more than 25 years of study at Langholm. The partnership working on this moor has delivered profound and practical insight into what it takes to sustain our moorlands. We all hoped that reaching a moorland balance would be easy and some seemed to think it would be. It was not, especially within the current policy framework which needs to adapt to new habitat and predation circumstances if we wish to keep our moors.

 “The project has demonstrated that where numbers of red grouse have fallen to low levels (perhaps because habitat management has reduced or has been abandoned), or predators are no longer controlled by gamekeepers, it is exceptionally difficult to recover that moor to a state where driven grouse shooting can take place.  Without driven shooting we know active management declines, exposing ground nesting birds of prey to predation themselves, and losing heather cover.

“The clear message from this final report is not one of a binary choice of red grouse or birds of prey, but that we need both to be balanced if we value our moorlands and their ecosystems. Once grouse numbers fall the reason for cost-effective investment in the management of this ecosystem is also lost, jeopardising habitats and biodiversity. This project shows we need adaptive management measures so that game shooting remains an incentive for managing a moorland balance.

“Langholm therefore represents the moorland challenge faced by Government, landowners and NGOs. Our future generations should have the chance to enjoy Scotland’s most iconic landscape.  There is no stronger case or better evidence for the need to support the game management that conserves the asset that is Scotland’s heather moorland, and the rich range of biodiversity that it supports, than the work we have done and the lessons learned from Langholm.”

Further information from:

Adam Smith
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
E: asmith@gwct.org.uk
Tel: 07712 930989

Issued by:

Dick Playfair
Playfair Walker
E: richard@playfairwalker.com
Tel: 0131 445 5570

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