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Grouse shooting ‘better for moors’ than rewilding

With just two days to go until the 'Glorious 12th' there has been a flurry of positive press coverage in recent days on the social, economic and environmental benefits generated by driven grouse shooting.

The latest is a report in The Telegraph following the publication of a new scientific study by the GWCT which found grouse shooting was the best way to manage moorland.

It is well worth a read:


Grouse shooting is more environmentally friendly for moorland areas than rewilding, a report has claimed.

The review of scientific evidence found that activities such as controlled burning, the rewetting of peat bogs and management of predators were more likely to achieve the Government’s long-term sustainability goals than a policy of “abandonment”.

It warned that rewilding, which has gained increased currency among some environmental campaigners and policymakers in recent years, was “risky” and based on scant evidence.

The review was conducted by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, which supports the shooting of game.

It examined the existing scientific evidence for traditional management practices of grouse moors against the aims of the Government’s 25-year Environmental Plan (25YEP).

The review concluded that many activities carried out on grouse moors produce a range of public goods, including increasing biodiversity and saving threatened species, mitigating climate change and reducing the risk of wildfire.

Understanding of the crucial role of moorlands in carbon and water storage has transformed in recent decades.

The report states that moorland landowners have kept pace by undertaking peat restoration, the blocking of drains, the cutting and burning of heather for wildfire mitigation, and the creation of ponds to help bird and insect life.

Credit: Emily Graham Media

The authors of the report said that many of the alternative uses for uplands – such as either managed or “abandonment” rewilding – had been subject to very little research on their contribution to either public goods, or the specific goals of the 25YEP.

“It must be risky to base policy on an assumption that the outcomes of rewilding are better than grouse moor management,” said Henrietta Appleton, a co-author of the study.

It comes in the run-up to the Glorious Twelfth, the start of the grouse shooting season, on Friday.



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