A national decline in wading birds over the last few decades is well recognised, as is the localised distribution of remaining populations. However, there is a need for more and better data on existing wader numbers, distribution, productivity, and the reasons for their decline in some areas and persistence in others. Improved understanding is essential so that well-informed decisions on land management can be made and implemented in time to stabilise and ultimately reverse the trend in wader populations.
The Cairngorms National Park brought together key stakeholders to identify common interests and goals with regard to waders, and to collectively begin designing a research and monitoring programme along.
The intention is to develop a research and monitoring programme that engages with multiple interest groups, including volunteers and land managing sectors. This programme will collaboratively build a shared evidence base that improves our understanding of waders and increases common ground between the relevant stakeholders. Importantly, this initiative will directly inform land management and land use policy to help the conservation of breeding waders.
With its important wader strongholds, long term wader records, and established partnerships such as the Strathspey Wetland and Waders Initiative (SWWI) and East Cairngorms Moorland Partnership, the Cairngorms National Park presents an ideal opportunity for this process to be developed and tested.