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

‘Scott would have been so proud’

Parents give heartfelt thanks for Langholm bowls memorial Last week,…

 

‘Wolf-whistles? We’re too busy listening to Radio 4!’

As shock research suggests Britain’s macho builders are now embracing…

 

All aboard the late-afternoon last bus

Fury as X95 night service to Carlisle is axed by…

 

‘We feared foot & mouth was back’

Farmers relive trauma after probe into suspected new UK outbreak…

 

‘Blame the Duke’, Loki tells Langholm

By Penny Johnstone Rapper wades into buyout debate in latest…

 

Tub Turnbull’s ‘Ride Oot Bye’

By Gilly Fraser For the first time in three years,…

 

‘My boy is broken-hearted’

Lennon, 12, left devastated after ‘despicable’ thieves target his beloved…

 

Institute raises a cuppa to 100 wonderful years

Retiring president Nancy McLure welcomed members and guests to the…

 

Showing Charolais

By Gilly Fraser “The Royal Highland Show is special for…

 

Drummer Kyle kills it with Brandon & Co

Sheer delight is etched on Kyle Grieve’s face as he…

 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

After torrent floods derelict church, residents unite in campaign to…

 

Leila's a vintage virtuoso!

If vintage clothes make you think of mothballs and third-hand…

 

New owners for town's 20-year Erskine eyesore

But clamour grows to tear down derelict, ‘dangerous’ High Street…

 

The blissful sound of silence

Residents celebrate after church bells are finally silenced

 

Let’s do it for Dylan!

As his mum appeals for a life-changing loo in Langholm,…

 

Pyrotechnics and parties for our marvellous monarch

Locals plan to hold a weekend of right royal celebrations

 

'I'm so glad my dad isn't here to see this'

Local opponents hit back at Tarras Valley plans

 

Ruairi to lead the way as Big Day returns at last

Langholm elects its new Cornet with 1,100 votes cast

 

Male is back as just 19 votes decide council seat

Ron Tait ousted in Ward 12 by returning independent candidate

 

Obituary to well loved lady

Tributes paid to much love

 

Last gasp lifeline for Tarras Valley project

Two month extension agreed for £450,000 needed to secure buyout

 

Butchers facing chop

Refurbishment row leads to couple’s decision to quit

 

Care village moves a step closer

£1.4m footbridge will connect new scheme to town

 

Rail group sends signal to Holyrood

New Waverley route must include Langholm say campaigners

 

Election briefing

Use your vote wisely

 

For whom does the bell actually toll?

Parishioners and minister clash over ‘intrusive’ ringing

 

Buccleuch to put 30 homes on the market

Tenants of Buccleuch Estates say they are shocked and distressed…

 

Ukrainian Hosts meet wall of silence

Generous residents frustrated with housing delays

 

Bus driver crisis is getting serious

Transport company Borders Buses has introduced an emergency timetable after…

 

Janet's in the frame for gallery as Phil steps down

By Nick Brownlee It’s the end of an era at…

 

High Noon for Eskdalemuir Marksmen

Opponents claim elite rifle range could put lives at risk

 

End of an era as Common Riding trio announce retirement

By Nick Brownlee Three stalwarts of Langholm Common Riding say…

 

Butcher's face the cruellest of cuts

Heartbreak for couple faced with closure of their High Street…

 

New lease of life for leisure centre plans

Facility would provide “huge health and wellbeing benefits for area”

 

Local plans drawn up to host Ukrainians

Polish charity will match families with hosts in Eskdale

 

"Pristine" items wanted and calls for cash donations

When the call went out last week for donations of…

 

Proud memories of Langholm's Moon Man

On the 50th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s Visit

 

Unmanaged vegetation is potential tinderbox

Heather Trust member expresses his concern over wildfires

 

Favourite local walk is changed forever

Gaskell’s footbridge removed over increasing safety concerns

 

Ill-considered approach

Analogue phone switch-off will leave remote communities vulnerable

 
 
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.