Driven grouse moors - socioeconomic and biodiversity impacts: summary report

A summary report of findings from research into socioeconomic and biodiversity impacts of driven grouse moors and the employment rights of gamekeepers

1. Introduction

This report provides a summary of the findings from the distinct pieces of research commissioned by the Scottish Government to Assess the Socio-economic and Biodiversity Impacts of Driven Grouse Moors and to Understand the Rights of Gamekeepers (CR/2019/01). This project was led by Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and was undertaken by an experienced team of interdisciplinary researchers from SRUC and the James Hutton Institute.

This 'Phase 2' work extends from the evidence generated during 'Phase 1' of this grouse research, addressing some of the knowledge gaps regarding driven grouse in Scotland that were identified during the earlier research (Brooker et al., 2018a) as well as gaps identified by the Grouse Moorland Management Group (GMMG, 2019).

Recent grouse moor evidence

Grouse Moorland Management Group – Report to the Scottish Government (GMMG, 2019)

Phase 1 - Socio-economic and biodiversity impacts of driven grouse moors in Scotland: Summary Report (Brooker et al., 2018a).

Whilst the different parts of this research may appear disconnected at first, the common element running through the reports is moorland management. Part 1 deals with the financial and employment impacts from moorland management activities that are largely determined by the objectives of the owners of the land. Much of the activity on the ground is undertaken by employed gamekeepers (Part 2) whose management techniques alongside owner motivations can impact on the extent and intensity of moorland management (Part 3) as well as the biodiversity impacts (Part 4). As such, each report focuses on a different part of a complex set of interrelated decisions, actions and impacts that stem from grouse moor and alternative moorland management.

The individual reports make few recommendations due to their focus on providing evidence. However, insights from this investigation reiterate the complexities involved in assessing impacts of grouse moor management, particularly as grouse shooting is often embedded, or underpinned, by wider estate activities – some of which occur on the same moorland that grouse shooting takes place. Unpicking the socio-economic and biodiversity impacts specific to driven grouse remains a complex challenge and reiterates Professor Werritty's sentiments regarding the challenges faced by the Grouse Moor Management Group: "I had not fully appreciated the complexity of the issues involved… Grappling with the evidence in terms of raptor and upland ecology, environmental law, wildlife law and related police and judicial procedures, veterinary science, the socio-economics of Scotland's moorland, and much more besides, has proved a major challenge" (Professor Werritty, GMMG, 2019).

This report only summarises the four detailed topic reports outlined above that are outputs from this 'Phase 2' research[1]. As such this summary should not be read in isolation from these reports where the research methods, caveats and findings are provided in detail. The topic-specific reports produced during this research are available on the SEFARI website[2]:

Mc Morran et al., 2020 Part 1: Socio-economic impacts of moorland activities in Scotland

Thomson et al., 2020 Part 2: The Employment Rights of Gamekeepers

Matthews et al., 2020 Part 3: Mapping the areas and management intensity of moorland actively managed for grouse

Newey et al., 2020 Part 4: Biodiversity considerations on grouse moors



Back to top