Final Langholm report highlights environmental and economic benefits of grouse moor management

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has today welcomed the publication of the final report from the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project (LMDP). The LMDP ran between 2008 and 2016 with the aim of re-establishing Langholm Moor as a driven grouse moor, while simultaneously meeting raptor conservation objectives.

The project produced some rigorous science which has strongly highlighted the benefits of management practices associated with grouse shooting. Unfortunately, grouse numbers were unable to recover to harvestable levels due to being held at low density by sustained predation and the fact that Langholm is an isolated area of heather moorland.

BASC Scotland director, Dr Colin Shedden, said: “The final Langholm report clearly highlights some of the outstanding benefits associated with grouse management for raptors and upland waders. It has also highlighted the exceptional work undertaken by grouse managers to preserve heather moorland which is an internationally rare habitat.

“The economic credentials highlighted in this report are most impressive and echo the findings of a Scottish Government report published in 2018, which suggested that the grouse shooting sector contributes £14.5 million in wages and £23.3 million to the Scottish economy. The annual contribution of more than £244,000 over the course of this project is outstanding, and is representative of the level of investment on other, similar-sized grouse moors in Scotland. This substantial investment by grouse moor owners has profound benefits for biodiversity, jobs and fragile rural economies at no expense to the tax payer.”

Notes to Editors:

A selection of the key environmental and economic findings from the report:
•            Grouse moor management has a positive impact on the abundance of both red grouse and hen harriers.
•            Legal predator control can benefit ground-nesting raptors.
•            Restoring predator control at Langholm reversed declines of curlew and golden plover.
•            Loss of heather-dominated vegetation ceased and subsequently increased by 30% owing to a combination of muirburn, reduced grazing by sheep and reseeding of heather.
•            Diversionary feeding of raptors reduced the natural food intake by harrier nestlings by half, with red grouse only constituting 0-4% of the nestling diet.
•            The impact of predation by individual common buzzards on red grouse was low, but the cumulative impact of the buzzard population could be considerable.
•            Over £244,000 was invested in moorland management every year at Langholm.

The full report can be found here –