In October 2019 the partnership which ran the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project (LMDP) published their final report ‘Managing Moorland for Birds of Prey and Red Grouse’. It is available for download here.
The LMDP partners identified (on pages 15 and 16 of the report) some ‘Challenges beyond this Project’, which raise questions around the future look, use and maintenance of Scottish moorland.
At its November meeting, Scotland’s Moorland Forum agreed the LMDP Final Report and the challenges it highlights are a helpful framework for those who have an interest in our moors to express their views on the future.
From December 2019 to February 2020 the Forum would like you to answer 12 questions based on these challenges. The answers will be compiled into a report for Scotland’s Moorland Forum who will use this to inform their work on Valuing Scotland’s Moorlands, the development of the Moorland Management Best Practice guidance series and other areas of work that might be identified as a result of this survey.
We are particularly interested in what 27 years of work on Langholm Moor means to you?
Please take part in our call for responses by completing the responses form by 28 February 2020.
The Langholm Moor Projects
‘Managing Moorland for Birds of Prey and Red Grouse’ was the last of a number of project reports that refer back to work on Langholm Moor that originally started in 1992. These projects had at their heart the relationship of moorland management for red grouse shooting and the conservation of birds of prey.
The most recent project, the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project (LMDP), had as its main objective “To establish Langholm Moor as a driven grouse moor and to meet the nature conservation objectives for the Special Protection Area and Site of Special Scientific Interest”.
It was funded and delivered by a Partnership of Buccleuch Estates, Scottish Natural Heritage, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England.
LMDP ran from 2008, with gamekeepers delivering grouse moor management practices until 2016 and a science team monitoring these effects until 2017.
The project report indicates that individual elements of the project were markedly successful including: “Addressing decades of heather loss, subsidised grazing removal and gamekeepering recovered overgrazed moorland”, “reducing predation on ground-nesting birds, allowing some recovery of their populations” and providing “insight for thousands of visitors into raptors’ relationships with prey, the rate of recovery of heather habitats from grazing pressure and the economic cost of maintaining heather moors.”
But the report noted that “the gamekeeper management which brought these positive outcomes could not be afforded in the long run because there were insufficient grouse available to be shot in order to achieve the chosen economic return”.
It also stated that “If there are public benefits to maintaining grouse moor management, the work at Langholm has generated important evidence on ways forward. The current grouse moor management toolbox including predator control, muirburn and medicated grit, where used, must be used in line with best practice. New legal predation management options, beyond diversionary feeding, may be needed to allow grouse recovery from low densities. Finally driven grouse shooting may have to charge more for fewer brace of grouse shot to maintain management that is both effective and socially acceptable.”
“This project demonstrated that for Langholm moor it was not straightforward to sustain driven grouse moor management and the conservation benefits it can support. As a result, some of the choices that face both Langholm and some of the UK’s other managed moors are now better understood.”