Menu
 
Home | News | Heather, hen harriers and grouse thriving on moor: Project report shows how legal management techniques benefit all species
 
News | 10th October 2019
 

Heather, hen harriers and grouse thriving on moor: Project report shows how legal management techniques benefit all species

 
 
 

THE final report into a 10-year, multi-million-pound project to restore driven grouse shooting alongside the conservation of hen harriers on Langholm moor has been published.
The report comes as a group seeks to take on ownership from Buccleuch of the moor in a community buy-out, largely funded by the Scottish government through the Scottish Land Fund.
According to a group of shooting and rural organisations, the report produced ‘ultimate proof’ of the conservation benefits of grouse moor management.
They said the reported highlighted how game-keeping significantly improved the fortunes of some under-threat bird species and restored heather which had been lost for decades.
The joint statement was issued by British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Scottish Countryside Alliance, Scottish Gamekeepers Association, Scottish Association for Country Sports, Scottish Land & Estates, Moorland Association & National Gamekeepers’ Organisation.
The statement said: “This unprecedented scientific project was a watershed and proves the important conservation value of grouse moor management.
“As the report says, management for red grouse can recover and support globally important moorland habitat and precious species at a time when the UK is losing species dramatically.
“This project showed gamekeepers using modern management techniques, including legal predator control, led to improved populations of curlew, golden plover and snipe at a time when they are declining nationally. Predator control also protected breeding hen harriers.
“Loss of heather over generations was halted and heather-rich vegetation increased by 30 per cent, largely because of investment in controlled muirburn, heather reseeding and grazing reduction.
“To lower predation pressure, the report says new legal predation management options may be needed to allow grouse to recover from low densities if wider bird assemblages are also to benefit.
“Ensuring our moorlands are managed well in the future is a shared objective.”
Duncan Orr Ewing, head of species and land management at RSPB Scotland, one of the project partners, said he agreed with the successes highlighted in the report.

Large areas of heather had been lost since World War Two; nearly half had gone from overgrazing by sheep. This project had reversed that decline and extended the area of heather.
He said: “The most important thing about Langholm is its Special Protection Area designation by the EU for its hen harries and they have thrived during the project.
“There are six to seven pairs, which is what this site should support, along with other ground-nesting birds like curlew and snipe. Many curlews have been lost to upland afforestation in this part of the country.
“If you plant trees in blocks, as we have done, you fragment the landscape and predator populations increase. Foxes and crows will use them as cover to prey on the moor.
“If we’re going to hold onto some of the ground-nesting birds, predator control will be essential but it has to be legal control.”
Mr Orr Ewing said the main disappointment, although grouse numbers had risen five-fold, was they didn’t get to a point where shooting could take place.
“From our perspective, the grouse population increased significantly and was above the levels considered appropriate for driven shooting.
He added: “Grouse moors have intensified management and they’ve compared Langholm to the more commercial moors where they aim to maximise grouse production.
“The objective at Langholm was to deliver grouse and a range of other public benefits. On those other moors illegal practices may be occurring and at Langholm, that did not happen. The aim was to manage it sustainably and not use illegal persecution.
“Fewer pairs of harriers are breeding in northern England than in Langholm alone and we know the habitat in northern England is perfect for harriers.”
Mr Orr Ewing met the Langholm Initiative steering group organising the community buy-out on Monday.
While the RSPB could not offer financial support, it could lend its expertise and advice.
Before the meeting, he said: “One thing is certain; because the site is so important for moorland breeding birds, whoever owns it will have to take that into account.
“Conifers and windfarms would not be compatible. Scottish Natural Heritage has the say over what land use is appropriate.
“Those things, which are compatible, are nature conservation interests, probably more native woodland, not on the main moorland blocks but around the edges.
“My main point is that this project has shown what a sustainable and legally managed grouse moor can look like.”

 
 
Would you like to support us?

The Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser is our community owned local newspaper and even in today’s troubled times, we aim to bring you local news and articles in an impartial, responsible and factual way.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this free article but we need your support so we can keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent and keeps you up to date with what is happening in Eskdale and Liddesdale.

Every reader’s contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to us.
 
 
‘Owned by the Community...Published for the Community’
Do you have a story?

Please get in touch if you have a story or article you would like to see published.

Related Articles

Time is running out to buy town’s moorland

It’s a race to the finish as deadline of October…

 

Day of reckoning

EWM chain’s future is in doubt if group’s owner saves…

 

Flood Scheme Forum

RESIDENTS living in riverside properties in Langholm have voiced their…

 

Langholm Loves Local launched

LANGHOLM is bouncing back with a new initiative to make…

 

New coronavirus rules will not help industry

Hotel owner criticises Scottish government for unclear message

 

Pandemic infects iconic retail brand

More unemployment as Day puts EWM Group in administration

 

Villagers welcome a 20mph limit trial

Newcastleton’s streets will be safer for pedestrians and drivers

 

EWM TO CLOSE 200 STORES IN NEXT FORTNIGHT

24,000 Jobs are at risk

 

Village sewage works due to open next spring

Canonbie and the River Esk will benefit from better treatment

 

Housing developer is ready to move onto site

Plan put in for initial works, including improved A7 junction

 

Rescued mill has new name and big plans

Drove Weavers in Langholm earns praise and admiration from MSP

 

Digital skills project is launched in Langholm

Older people, young people and low-income families targeted

 

Flood protection order delayed by fresh study

Environmental impact assessment will take six months to do

 

Team appointed to regenerate Copshaw

Development officer to lead transformation of Buccleuch House

 

Four more defibrillators go live

FOUR more defibrillators have been installed as part of a…

 

Centre design rethink after public response

And council calls for extra study after identifying flood risk

 

Village completes historic land buy-out

Newcastleton trust buys 750 acres of Holm Hill from Buccleuch

 

Scottish actor appeals for donations to moor

Gregor has good memories of raising his family in Langholm

 

Dyehouse cuts ten jobs as orders dry up

COVID-19 pandemic hits successful company’s customers

 

Plan launched to make south a greater place

Enterprise body to make area centre for opportunity, innovation and…

 

Volunteers needed to drive community car

New Caddy will be used to transport residents to appointments

 

Another million given to moorland buyout

South of Scotland Enterprise give huge boost to venture

 

Centre bids for funding to survive the long term

Langholm’s popular performing arts venue is vital to economy

 

Academy’s head pupils

LANGHOLM and Canonbie Schools Cluster is delighted to announce the…

 

Church reopens for worship

By the Rev Dr. Robert Pickles

 

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Artists impression of how proposed flood defences may look

 

£500k boost for moor

Family foundation breathes new life into bid for nature reserve

 

Langholm’s last mill has a brighter future

Well-known designer will create jobs and establish new brand

 

Nicol’s enterprising role to regenerate town

Former Langholm man will deliver Langholm’s action plan

 

Dance scholar rewarded

A PERFORMING arts student from Langholm has won a coveted…

 

Centre announces an August reopening

Coffees and lunches are back on the menu – at…

 

Canonbie surgery

A CONFIDENTIAL online consultation service giving patients another way to…

 

Town is a high priority

Langholm does not rank the lowest in an index based…

 

MARVELLOUS!

IT WAS dark when three horsemen were greeted by a…

 

Neighbourly celebrations

MOODLAW Point and Henry Street South neighbours gathered on Jennety’s…

 

Neighbourly celebrations

THE neighbours in Academy Place and Douglas Terrace could not…

 

Partnership secures £2.1m for the south

Scottish government awards funding to 28 innovative projects

 

Jobless warning

JUNE’S unemployment figures are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’…

 

Weaving company’s future in the balance

Management buy-out team seeks to progress talks with owner

 

Defibs are going live

Life-saving equipment will come with full instructions on use

 
Surgery Tour 2020
 
requires mailchimp logins and wired up to a list
Join our mailing list
Keep up to date with all that’s going on at the E&L
This site uses cookies.
Configure
 
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.