©2016 John King
According to Scottish Natural Heritage, this week:
‘Scotland’s woodland and farmland bird numbers have increased over the past two decades, but during this time, upland birds have faced decline. The latest results reveal varied trends for Scotland’s terrestrial breeding birds, with woodland birds increasing by 67% between 1994 and 2016, farmland birds increasing by 13%, but upland birds decreasing by 16%. Woodland specialists, such as great-spotted woodpecker and chiffchaff, have shown the largest increases…..For farmland species, goldfinches have continued to increase and are now a common sight in most gardens.
I hope it’s not too flippant to suggest blame for the decline in upland birds might be laid at the mansion doors of Tory landowners who would prefer biodiversity there, was reduced to just one species, the grouse, so that their massive flocks are easy targets for even the most drunken of their clients.
I’m basing my headline claim on parts of the Annual implementation report
United Kingdom, Rural Development Programme (Regional) -Scotland which includes details of the Scottish Government’s agencies’ planning for biodiversity in forest, farmland and upland areas. The EU funds the programme.
For the four targets:
T8: percentage of forest/other wooded area under management contracts supporting
biodiversity (focus area 4A)
T12: percentage of agricultural land under management contracts
to improve soil management and/or prevent soil erosion (focus area 4C)
T10: percentage of agricultural land under management contracts to improve water management (focus area 4B)
T9: percentage of agricultural land under management contracts supporting biodiversity
and/or landscapes (focus area 4A)
£222 527 672 of public expenditure was spent in 2014-2016 (Page 12). I appreciate that not all of this was specifically bird-targeted, but they are included in the concept of biodiversity and some actions were specific. See:
‘Scotland has had an AEC [Agri-Environment and Climate Scheme] scheme since the early 1990s and has developed a suite of interventions that benefit Scotland’s biodiversity. The evaluators were told that evidence from previous programmes has demonstrated the benefits of AEC measures in supporting biodiversity. Of the “original” AEC schemes, the creation of Wild Bird Seed is considered to be one of the most beneficial actions, as it creates a food source for vulnerable bird species during winter in mixed agricultural systems throughout Scotland’ (page 84)
Footnote: I hope to be able to report, soon, on the benefits of other parties for tits.