Soil-dwelling insects in Working for Waders

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


Across Scotland there has been a steep decline in the number of wading birds, including lapwings, oystercatchers and curlews, over the past 25 years. Farmers and land managers have an important role to play in reversing these declines, e.g. by applying lime to improve soil pH which can increase the abundance of invertebrates the birds prey upon. The Working for Waders programme was established in 2017 to raise awareness of wader declines, show how declines can be reversed and help support collaborative projects involving multiple farms, estates and landholdings. The programme is co-chaired by a SEFARI scientist and a colleague from Scottish Natural Heritage, and with SEFARI providing additional input in a range of ways. • Working with the British Trust for Ornithology, wader distribution maps have been produced showing changes in wader populations across Scotland and hence where resources need to be targeted • Wader scrapes, (shallow pools of water designed to allow waders access to invertebrate prey in wet soil around the edges) have been established on a SEFARI farm under the Agriculture, Environment & Climate Change Scheme and used as a focus for events aimed at raising awareness of wader management needs among farmers and crofters • A suite of videos and podcasts targeted at farmers and crofters have been produced together with the Farm Advisory Service. The work of the programme has been highlighted through radio interviews and articles in the farming press Waders and their chicks need to be able to probe in wet areas to find soil-dwelling insects and earthworms to eat. SEFARI work has shown that small changes on any individual farm or croft – such as not draining the wetter areas of one or two fields or even just smoothing out the sides of steep ditches - can actually make a big difference for waders on the ground.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputbooklet
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationAberdeen
Publication statusPrint publication - 10 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

McCracken, D. 2020 Soil-dwelling insects in Working for Waders. In: Bestwick, C. & Dawson, L. Leading ideas on soil. SEFARI (Scottish Environment, Food & Agriculture Research Institutes), Aberdeen


Dive into the research topics of 'Soil-dwelling insects in Working for Waders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this