Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Case for Grouse Moor Management

This is an extract from a blog post by Adam Smith, Director Scotland for the GWCT.  The full post can be viewed on the GWCT website

Adam Smith
The case for grouse moor management as an essential part of sustaining Scotland’s uplands was re-stated at a “Gift of Grouse” reception on 30 November at the Scottish Parliament, highlighting the work of grouse moor estates in the Angus Glens and Perthshire.

Adam Smith, Director Scotland, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), which has, since the mid-1980s, produced more than 120 peer- reviewed papers on moorland issues, reiterated the benefits of management for grouse saying:

“There is no question to GWCT Scotland that well conducted management for grouse shooting can be a force for good in our uplands. Its demise would pose significant challenges for the landscape, for nationally important biodiversity conservation, and many small but locally important rural economies.

“GWCT feels however that there is room for improvement; we believe where grouse densities are at levels which can sustain shooting and predation pressures, these moors can and should host diverse bird of prey populations. We also feel that grouse moors should play a greater role in protecting and enhancing peat storage, thus capturing carbon and water.”

Adam Smith said that while it was possible to achieve net beneficial change, this would require balances to be struck – in terms of sustainable bird of prey populations, re-wetting peat land to the detriment of grazing quality, and for gamekeepers to better judge the need for medicating wild animals. He said:

“Change is not always a net gain. If we accept that Scotland needs moorland, new processes in thinking in both management and public policy are needed. Critically there must be a shift in perception that moorland management is limiting and extractive to accepting that it contributes provisioning, regulating and cultural services. Grouse moors are an interlinked part of the suite of upland land uses, including forestry and livestock farming, which have a role in the sustainable future for the uplands.”

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