From science to recovery: four case studies of how research has been translated into conservation action in the UK.
During this century, numbers of Grey Partridges Perdix perdix, Corncrakes Crex crex, Stone-curlews Burhinus oedicnemus and Cirl Buntings Emberiza cirlus have declined massively in the UK. These dispersed species are the best studied farmland birds in Britain. In each case, applied ecological studies have established that their declines are associated with agricultural intensification. We review the results of these studies, the management solutions that have been proposed and the actions taken to initiate population recovery. In all four cases, these actions have been demonstrably successful. Current and future success depends, to a great extent, on government agricultural policy. Set-aside and the EU Agri-environment Regulation 2078/92 have been the basis for the success so far. Extensive farming is the common theme connecting the four species, and a policy move towards comprehensive support for extensive farming systems would ensure the future for them and for other forms of declining farmland wildlife.