Compare and contrast


The shooting industry (BASC this time): Heather burning good for biodiversity says study.

A consortium of 50+ environmental and wildlife NGOs in the State of Nature report (p26): ‘In large areas, uplands are also subject to burning rotations as part of grouse moor management. This can result in heather dominating blanket bogs and has greatly reduced the condition of internationally important sites.‘.



And, of course, heather burning in the UK is being investigated by the European Commission after a complaint by the RSPB and the Ban the Burn campaigners in the CalderValley.

Thank you to BASC for bringing this up.

Please sign this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting (it closes tomorrow).

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13 Replies to “Compare and contrast”

  1. And the opposing petition to 'protect grouse shooting' has reached 16,000 (boo, hiss) but has waited 27 days for a response so far (giggles)

    1. Also 'protect grouse moors', now if it wasn't supported by Countryside Aliens then I'd applaud the proposal to protect the moors.

      Don't some folk just love to muddy the waters by generalising 'shooting', failing to differentiate does nothing for their cause IMHO.

      Let them have their day in Westminster and if fairness, open and transparent conduct is to bring verifiable economic evidence into the arena, bring it on?

  2. There must surely be some species of plants on our uplands that are relatively intolerant of burning to the point that they are either much diminished or now absent from areas that are regularly burnt. Sphagnum austinii being one example this was one of our most important peat forming species but disappears and does not return in the face of pollution or FIRE. I wonder what other species react similarly. Impoverishment of the flora must surely impoverish the higher trophic levels.

    1. Juniper- should be scattered across the drier moors and provides cover and nesting sites for willow grouse, moorland spiders and other beasties...... but does not tolerate burning.

      If we allowed it to grow, we could make gin.

  3. It's odd that burning is mentioned as detrimental at several places in the text, yet the only mention in the Drivers for Change section is to indicate that under driver 10 - Decreasing management ... which has no positives - the negatives are "abandonment of traditional management, including grazing, burning and cutting, which is crucial for the maintenance of habitats such as heathland and grassland".

    The CEH 2016 study referred to by BASC monitored sites where burning took place in the 50s & 60s but not since, so maybe not typical of current grosue moorland management, and under moderate grazing pressure species decline was associated with height of heather. It recommends timely burning to maintain diversity. It found no evidence of species composition reacting to climate change or nitrogen deposition.

    1. Not read the CEH study so I am not sure what the plot sizes were. Surely they are not suggesting that species would go extinct, but just that the frequency of their occurrence will rebalance?

  4. I don't know much about biodiversity or biology (and I have no access to this particular journal) but this is the last sentence of the abstract: 'To maintain diversity, timely burning is recommended.'

    I often read it on this blog and other sites that the shooting industry refuses to engage with scientific articles published in peer reviewed journals. It seems that on this occasion they have.

    I doubt that the findings of the article can be effectively rebutted by two sentences in the State of Nature report. (Yes, I know that there is quite a lot about this issue in Inglorious, but I doubt that most MPs will read it.)

    1. I won't mention Sci-Hub again, as I am fairly sure it is illegal, and you have to be a Russian speaker or not of a nervous disposition to click the buttons. I have only known it fail to get behind a paywall once in several months of use. I am too twitchy to donate - yet - as it involves Bitcoin.

    2. Adam - unlike you I have read the article. It is an anecdote compared with a generality. How many sites were studied?

  5. Today's (obvious) word: penultimate

    The day finished on: 122,743
    Today's signatures: a nice round 250

    We are going to need 578 signatures tomorrow for a particularly sweet palindrome finish, Richard Ebbs!


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