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Cairngorms National Park protects its Black Grouse

16th March 2007

Land managers and farmers in the Cairngorms National Park have given their commitment to help secure the future of the threatened Black Grouse.

A number of land managers, farmers and crofters took part in a special training day earlier this month which looked at ways of halting the decline of the species.

Over the past 40 years there has been a 90 per cent decline in the number of Black Grouse in the UK. And with growing concerns about climate change and its threat on habitats the focus within the Cairngorms National Park is on their protection.

The Black Grouse Management course took place on Monday March 12th at the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) office in Grantown-on-Spey and was organised by the CNPA’s Land Based Business Training project (LBBTP).

It was the first time such a wide variety of land based owners and workers had come together to discuss the issue.

The event was led by Dr Mark O’Brien from the RSPB, who is a black grouse expert, and there were a number of talks from experts looking at issues affecting black grouse, including habitat requirements, status and distribution and conservation management. Participants were also given advice and support in terms of improved management of black grouse in all of their habitats (moorland, woodland, farmland and wetland).

The group also witnessed positive black grouse management in practice with a visit to Glen Livet Estate, where they took part in exercises aimed at highlighting habitat requirements.

Will Boyd Wallis, Senior Land Management Officer at the CNPA, said: “It was really encouraging to see so many people interested in coming together for this. It was a great opportunity for land managers in the Cairngorms National Park to learn and discuss the status of Black Grouse and their habitat management requirements.

“Black Grouse depend upon a wide range of habitats including moorland, forest, farmland and wetland.

“The Cairngorms National Park is the ideal location for bringing together land managers and agencies to bring about a halt to the decline of this species.”

Kate Christie, the CNPA’s LBBTP manager, said: “This course is one of a series of courses aimed at helping land managers to deliver the public benefits associated with the aims of the National Park. Other courses that are coming up include a course on lapwing, woodland grazing, habitat monitoring and the grazing impact of deer.”

For more information on these courses contact Kate Christie on 01479 870 535.