Published in support of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for black grouse

Causes of Decline

As for many threatened species, no single factor is responsible for the changes in population. There are several reasons for the decline of black grouse, and they may vary in importance in different parts of the UK. The last 50 years have seen considerable changes in the landscape of Britain, especially in the uplands. Government policies, grants and subsidies encouraged more intensive farming and large-scale forestry plantations, which reduced the mosaic of habitats that black grouse require. As populations became smaller and more fragmented because of habitat loss and degradation, other factors such as predation, weather and disease - which black grouse populations should otherwise be able to withstand - may become more important. Isolation of populations often results in local extinction, because black grouse tend not to disperse very far, so there is less chance of new blood. Some factors have affected black grouse on a regional basis, while others operated on a UK-wide scale. Some are less of a threat than they were, but often a combination of factors drives the populations to low levels, when a chance occurrence that kills a small number of birds can cause a local extinction. For more detailed information follow the links below:

Factors that may have contributed to the decline