3 July 2012

Game and Conservation Interests Agree to Work Together

An agreement paving the way for more collaborative work between conservation and game interests is welcomed by Scotland’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change Stewart Stevenson said:

“The relationship between conservationists, landowners and gamekeepers is continuing to improve through collaborative efforts such as this accord.

“Conservationists see the benefits which experienced and knowledgeable land managers can bring to biodiversity and wildlife habitats, while land managers appreciate how conservation and a healthy ecosystem equate to healthy game as well. This agreement is an important step in progressing this understanding, and I welcome it wholeheartedly.”

SNH and GWCT have resolved to continue to urge good practice in animal welfare and compliance with wildlife legislation. Both parties are working together to promote this, alongside developing new approaches to resolving conflicts in the countryside. The accord also recognises SNH and GWCT’s shared interest in having a good evidence base to support integrated and balanced land management.

The Langholm Moor Demonstration Project is an excellent example of an existing partnership, with SNH and GWCT working well together and with other organisations. National surveys of capercaillie and black grouse have been jointly carried out, and there are plans to broaden this work to cover other species.

Ian Jardine, SNH chief executive, said:

“Some may find it surprising, but conservation, hunting and fishing interests have many of the same goals. After all, when wildlife flourishes in Scotland, it helps nurture our country’s environment and supports our rural communities and the economy. This agreement is a landmark which shows how far we have come, but also how much hard work we still have to do. Working together we can – and must – make sure Scotland’s natural environment thrives.”

Dr Adam Smith, welcoming the signing of the Statement said:

“SNH’s revision of its wildlife management principles are a positive reason to update our previous commitment to work together for Scottish conservation. Our research shows that game management offers many principles, such as maximising breeding success in birds, and practical solutions, such as beetle banks, which will enhance biodiversity as well as support sporting interest. Working with SNH will help us raise awareness of how the challenges of carbon management and productive agriculture can be met in ways which also benefit game and wildlife. To this end, we want to work together so that the public benefits from these conservation principles and solutions are evident. We want to ensure that those individuals who invest in the countryside and use these principles already are supported and encouraged to do so into the future.”

This agreement builds on past cooperation, including an initial agreement in 1998, as well as 10 joint projects, such as the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project. Since 1998, both organisations have broadened their remits, making a new agreement necessary. SNH has merged with the Deer Commission for Scotland, and now has a more prominent role in wildlife management.

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