The effect of agri-environment schemes on grey partridges at the farm level in England.
In this study results from land managed by volunteer members of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust's Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) were used to determine how well Environmental Stewardship (ES) and its predecessor schemes have performed for one intensively studied farmland bird, the grey partridge (Perdix perdix) between 2005 and 2008. The individual agri-environmental scheme (AES) options that PCS members chose to implement were classified into groups based on the habitat that they provide for grey partridges at different stages of their life cycle. Three groups of options had consistently positive effects - beetle banks, conservation headlands and wild bird cover, all in-field options. Options with consistently negative effects were those including grass and scrub management. Unfortunately for grey partridges, beetle banks and conservation headlands currently have very little uptake within AES; of non-PCS agreements 1.9% include beetle banks and 2% conservation headlands. Non-PCS agreements have a slightly higher uptake of wild bird cover (12.9%).