Managing the UK Grey Partridge Perdix perdix recovery: population change, reproduction, habitat and shooting.
In 1995, the UK Government designated the Grey Partridge Perdix perdix as a priority species under its Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). The Game Conservancy Trust (GCT), nominated as lead partner for the species, launched a programme to help Grey Partridge recovery by (1) raising awareness among the shooting and farming communities, (2) encouraging land managers and local BAP groups to conserve Partridges by setting numerical targets and offering feedback from counts on how to increase numbers, and (3) motivating by example by setting up a site demonstrating management techniques and the increase in Partridge abundance that ensues. Building on past research, we quantify the amount of habitat management required to achieve the BAP targets of halting the decline and achieving population recovery. Using three major GCT databases, (1) the National Gamebag Census, which collates data on shooting bags and gamebird releasing in the UK, (2) the Partridge Count Scheme, which monitors national Partridge density and reproduction, and (3) the Sussex Study, which monitors local Partridge population dynamics over 37 years, we emphasize the importance of good breeding success for increasing densities, review the evidence that management can be successful and evaluate the impact of shooting on Grey Partridge conservation.