Grouse moor management offers ‘most sustainable option' in meeting 30 x 30 target, says new report
[Credit: Emily Graham]
A new report concludes, based on International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) environmental, social and economic definitions, moorland managed for grouse shooting provides greater overall benefits than any alternative use.
Written by Professor Simon Denny, formerly of the University of Northampton, and reviewed by Professor James Crabbe from the University of Oxford, the new report titled ‘Sustainable driven grouse shooting?’ highlights that grouse shooting is not an isolated activity. Instead it is part of a complex mix of activities that result in more positive outcomes for people and nature than any alternative uses.
“If the UK government is to meet its legally binding target of protecting 30% of land for nature by 2030 it must value the environmental benefits brought by grouse moors accordingly,” says Professor Simon Denny. “Any attempt to change that risks leaving the UK at a significantly further depleted level of biodiversity”
The review into sustainable driven grouse shooting, which was peer reviewed by academics from four UK universities, was designed to look both at the sustainability of grouse shooting, and the various alternative uses of moorland that others suggest.
Professor James Crabbe added: “The report looks at all the evidence that exists and is truly objective. Professor Denny has produced a comprehensive account of driven grouse shooting that encompasses the full meaning of ‘sustainability’. This report makes clear that integrated moorland management is a really complex issue with so many strands. If you take one piece of the jigsaw away, such as driven grouse shooting, there will be massive implications environmentally, socially and economically.”
The majority of upland areas where driven grouse shooting takes place have developed a sustainable model of operation. These areas can boast of many biodiversity success stories, for example threatened ground-nesting bird species such as lapwing, golden plover, curlew, red grouse and meadow pipit breed successfully and in great numbers in the uplands. Furthermore, raptors such as merlin, buzzards and hen harriers are at the highest level in decades.
The report found that the range of benefits that grouse moor management brings to some of the most remote parts of the UK are vast, affecting the agriculture sector, tourism, human and animal health, and carbon sequestration and flood control through moorland management and restoration practices.
To read the full report see: https://www.regionalmoorlandgroups.com/research