Scotland’s grouse moor owners are calling for the Glorious 12th to be a day of national celebration – on which everyone can take pride in the major environmental contribution of the country’s iconic heather-clad moorland.
The green dividend of Scotland’s moorland includes:-
· Major impact on the conservation of endangered bird species.
· More CO2 stored in Scottish peatlands than in the forests of Britain and France
· Massive contribution to Scotland’s fresh water supply
As Scotland prepares to mark the Glorious 12th on Friday landowners today saluted the ‘green grouse’.
Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates which represents around 2500 landowners and estates, said : “All of Scotland should be celebrating the Glorious 12th on Friday.
“Some years are good and others not so good for grouse shooting but year after year Scotland’s iconic heather moorland makes a massive environmental contribution – and this is underpinned by the grouse shooting industry.
“The management of heather moorland through the Scottish grouse shooting industry has been scientifically proven to support wildlife including rare wading birds such as lapwings, curlews and golden plovers whose habitat is the moor. These bird numbers are three to five times greater on estates which are managed for sporting activity and many endangered species are conserved precisely because they are kept as grouse moors. Not only that, grouse moors make a huge contribution in terms of carbon capture and the quality of Scotland’s fresh water because the substantial private investment by the grouse shooting industry has looked after the heather and prevented damaging overgrazing and afforestation.
“The red grouse industry is in fact very ‘green’ and should be supported and celebrated. It is a truly world class Scottish industry.
“Friday is the Glorious Twelfth and Scottish Land & Estates wants to take the opportunity to remind rural decision makers that this industry, which provides £30million annually to the Scottish economy and also supports well over a thousand jobs, is even more glorious because of its major credentials in supporting wildlife and biodiversity.”
The Earl of Hopetoun, Chairman of the Scottish Land & Estates Moorland Group, added:
“Rare wildlife including waders is a fragile, very valuable part of our rural heritage. The fact that effective management of heather moorland for the grouse shooting industry protects and allows these species to prosper is to be congratulated. In other parts of the UK such as Wales many wader species have been allowed to slip away and we cannot let that happen here.
“Wading birds are well known as indicator species of how healthy an ecosystem is. Many waders, such as Curlew and Lapwing, are on the endangered list so increased habitat management and ongoing predator control is necessary. Moorland management for grouse shooting is already doing this at no expense to the public purse and should be encouraged through relaxation of red tape and restriction on the industry”.
The UK holds 75% of the world’s resource of open heather moorland and the majority of that is in Scotland.
Scottish Land & Estates already encourages its members to support bidodiversity through Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) an initiative launched last year to ensure best practice in moorland management. Increased support of the grouse shooting industry will help this initiative succeed and allow Scotland’s rare wildlife continue to flourish.