NatureScot Report: Badger impacts on biodiversity and agriculture in Scotland - a literature review.

Karen Ramoo ,
16 Oct 2020

Our Policy Adviser Karen Ramoo discusses a literature review commissioned by NatureScot on the subject of badger conservation. In addition, she poses a number of questions to SLE members who wish to submit information to help guide future work in this area.

In 2019 NatureScot commissioned a literature review as an initial look into the badger population in Scotland and the relationship between badgers and the wider countryside and farmers and landowners. The report can be viewed here.

The report is being viewed as start to a conversation about badgers, it is not a NatureScot position statement. NatureScot is seeking input from a variety of stakeholders to help inform their next steps on this subject.

Using literature from Europe the report identifies:

  • How badger predation and feeding activity could impact wildlife in Scotland.
  • How badger predation and feeding activity could impact agriculture in Scotland.
  • How these impacts (on wildlife and agriculture) relate to changes in badger abundance/ distribution.
  • The extent of any control measures being applied to address impacts and an assessment of the effectiveness of such measures.

The report finds that studies into the distribution and abundance of badgers in Scotland and their foraging behaviours are limited and although there may be a few exceptions, it appears from the literature that badgers have little impact on biodiversity and agriculture in Scotland. 

It is acknowledged that there is a considerable lack of information on the population of badgers in Scotland and the impact they have on the wider countryside and people’s livelihoods. NatureScot is keen to learn about land managers experiences of badgers to give them a better understanding of badger behaviour in Scotland.

Scottish Land & Estates has developed a short survey to gather your views and experiences on badgers. We will collate and submit this information to NatureScot to help guide their future work on the subject.


  1. What region of Scotland are you in?
  2. Approximately how many badger sets do you think you have on your land?
  3. Have badger numbers on your land increased or decreased over the last 10 years?
  4. Have you noticed any interaction between badgers and ground nesting birds? If so, please detail, giving examples if possible.
  5. Have you noticed any interaction between badgers and other wildlife? If so, please detail, giving examples if possible.
  6. What impact (if any) have badgers had on your land and business? Please provide examples if appropriate.
  7. How does the impact of badgers on your business compare to that of other generalist predators, such as foxes?
  8. What further work would you like to see NatureScot undertake in relation to badgers?
  9. Are you happy for us to name you and your business in our survey summary to NatureScot? If yes please include your name and name of your business.
  10. Would you like to be contacted to discuss your answers further? If yes please include contact details.

If you would like to provide more detail or be more involved in the conversation, please get in touch with karen.ramoo@scottishlandandestates or you can submit comments directly to NatureScot