Vital contribution of grouse moor management highlighted in final Langholm report

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Press Release

Scottish Land & Estates said today that the final report of the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project (LMDP) published today has highlighted the vital conservation and environmental contribution made by grouse moor management.

The full LMDP report can be read here.

David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “This unprecedented project has proved beyond doubt the value of moorland managed for driven grouse.

“Langholm was a hugely important project and what needs to be addressed now is how best we achieve the right balance between improving habitats and protecting species while creating the best conditions in which grouse shooting can provide the land use, employment and investment to underpin those benefits and be viable.

“As the report states, this is a critical time for the development of moorland policy and managing our moorlands well for the future is a shared goal.

“We have now seen conclusive scientific evidence to show that, without the investment in moorland management, many important environmental and conservation benefits would disappear as well as having social and economic consequences.

“The report details the importance of predator control. While there has been much focus on hen harriers, sporting estates are clear that it is predation pressure from a combination of species including foxes, crows, ravens and buzzards as well as rarer ones such as hen harriers that have an impact on grouse chicks, rather than any particular species.

“The key future challenge is to find the right balance where common raptors such as ravens and buzzard numbers can be managed sustainably as part of the basket of measures to address predation. There have been encouraging signs from the brood management scheme being trialled in England and diversionary feeding. However, there should also be consideration given to approving licences to control common raptors in order for grouse moors to function continuing to provide conservation benefits.

“The report points to a way ahead for best practice grouse moor management, which relies to a great extent on private investment.  There needs to be a balance between incentivising management, recovery of costs for supply of public goods and regulation.  Land use policy in the uplands could maintain connectivity of quality habitats at a landscape scale, protecting open ground habitats from commercial afforestation and other threats. There is a huge amount at stake and there is a lot that can be learned from this report about how investment from estates has a very significant role to play in achieving environmental and conservation objectives in the future.”