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

Dumfries & Galloway Recovery Project

Black Grouse in Dumfries & Galloway

RSPB Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage work in partnership on black grouse conservation work in Dumfries & Galloway.

Historically, Dumfries and Galloway held the largest concentration of black grouse in Scotland. In recent decades, there has been a huge reduction in numbers due to changes in their moorland habitat, through overgrazing and lack of moorland management, and the maturation of conifer plantations. Combined with other factors, such as collisions with fences and predation, the remaining populations have become fragmented and isolated. Black grouse declined by 29% between the two national surveys in 1995/96 and 2005, but this decline was even more pronounced in south west Scotland with a decline of 49%. It is now estimated that Dumfries and Galloway is home to less than 200 lekking males.

A Black Grouse Officer was appointed in 1998 to draw up dedicated Action Plans for the most important leks in the region. Ongoing black grouse work in the region is now coordinated by the RSPB's Conservation Officer, whose role is to continue to write, update and implement management plans, offer advice to both private and public sector land managers, encourage land managers to take up black grouse management measures that can be funded through Government funding schemes, and to raise awareness of black grouse through the media, talks, targeted seminars and site visits.

With plantation forestry accounting for over one quarter of Dumfries and Galloway - the highest density of plantation forestry anywhere in Britain - it is crucial that the needs of black grouse are incorporated into Forest Design Plans and other relevant plans. Through these, we have the best chance of securing the future of black grouse during future forestry changes.

If you would like to find out more about black grouse in Dumfries & Galloway, or would like advice on how to manage your land your black grouse or the funding that may be available to you to do this, contact the Dumfries & Galloway Conservation Officer

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For more information on funding in Scotland and best practice land management, click here.