Driven grouse shooting in Britain: a form of upland management with wider conservation benefits.
The upland heather moors of Britain are home to the Red Grouse, an endemic race of gamebird that has traditionally been intensively managed for driven shooting. Typically, grouse moors employ gamekeepers to reduce predator densities, maintain grouse habitat (mainly through controlled heather burning), and organize the shooting, which is a major source of income for the estate. On moors without shooting, the land has been either heavily grazed by sheep or even afforested. Upland moors also host breeding waders such as Curlew, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, and Dunlin, whose numbers are declining. Parts of the uplands have been designated as EU Special Protection Areas because of their wader abundance, and 79% of such areas are managed as grouse moors. Indeed, there are 2-5 times as many breeding waders on moors with grouse management than on ones without. Much of this difference can be explained by predation control: an eight-year experiment that manipulated predator levels on four moors found that wader breeding success tripled and the annual rate of change in numbers of breeding pairs went from -28% to +38% with predator control compared to no predator control.