04 November 2020

GWCT statement on the SRUC grouse moor report

Grouse moor (Credit: David Mason)The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust welcomes this new report by SRUC for the Scottish Government, The Socio-economic and Biodiversity Impacts of Driven Grouse Moors and the Employment Rights of Gamekeepers, published 4th November.

Dr Adam Smith, Director of Policy Scotland, GWCT, says: “This report confirms what the GWCT and other partner organisations found during our work on the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project (LMDP) – that grouse moor management is, on balance, good for biodiversity and that sustainable economic activity is vital in supporting the management that supports this biodiversity.

“This latest study shows that current best practice levels of moorland management deliver biodiversity benefits to species that not only might be expected to benefit, but some may not, such as some hill-edge birds and butterflies. Only birch trees showed a consistent decline in prevalence with increasing intensity of muirburn. This may not be a great surprise as birch woodlands are not open moorland habitat.

“We are delighted that best practice predator control and muirburn, most often used on moorland by grouse moor managers, has again been linked to net biodiversity benefits, including for many ground-nesting birds, and likely mountain hares. This is in line with the considerable volume of research and demonstration that the GWCT has undertaken over many years to illustrate the benefits of positive grouse moor management.

“There is always more work to be done on exactly how and which species benefit. Moorland managers, by reporting of their own best practice management, are clearly very well placed to add more detail to how management can benefit many moor edge and moor species. The GWCT is supporting these working conservationists with advice on best practice and how to record and report moor management benefits for Scotland using new technologies.”

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Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is an independent wildlife conservation charity which carries out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

For information, contact:

Playfair Walker
Telephone: 0131 445 5570
Email: richard@playfairwalker.com