Biodiversity considerations on grouse moors. Part 4 of Research to assess socioeconomic and biodiversity impacts of driven grouse moors and to understand the rights of gamekeepers: Report to the Scottish Government

Scott Newey*, Debbie A. Fielding, Dave G Miller, Keith B. Matthews, SG Thomson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/Report/Policy BriefCommissioned reportpeer-review

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Abstract

The effect of grouse moor management intensity on the distribution of selected upland species was assessed. The species used in this study were chosen through consultation with the project Research Advisory Group and the Scottish Government to reflect a small selection of species that are likely to be negatively or positively affected by grouse moor management, and for which there was suitable occurrence data available for analyses within the time frame and
resources available. Some obvious species of interest such as mountain hare Lepus timidus, red deer Cervus elaphus, and high conservation priority species such as lapwing Vanellus vanellus, were not included in the final list of species assessed because there is already a substantial body of evidence indicating that these species benefit from and are positively associated with moorland managed
for grouse shooting. Rather the aim of this work was to assess the effects of the intensity of grouse moor management on species where the association between species distribution and grouse moor management is less well understood or unknown. The species assessed were: Birch, Green hairstreak butterfly, Curlew, Merlin, Lesser redpoll, Bilberry / blaeberry, Adder, Golden plover, Kestrel, Whinchat. It was difficult to draw any firm conclusions and for all species care is needed in interpreting the relationship between species occurrence and the high levels of muirburn as the sample size of both the number of assessed squares within each burn category, and the number of species records are low for these high intensity burn categories. Species may be responding to aspects of moorland management other than Muirburn and for the bird species occurrence was likely influenced by the wider landscape.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSEFARI
Commissioning bodyThe Scottish Government
Number of pages29
Publication statusPrint publication - 6 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • grouse moor
  • grouse
  • biodiversity
  • muirburn
  • strip burning
  • Species composition
  • driven grouse shooting
  • moorland management intensity

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