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The emphasis has been on habitat conservation and restoration on farmland, because most associated species will directly benefit from the increase in the area and distribution of such habitats. This strategy has led to the implementation of a range of practical solutions:

  • Designation of SSSIs (SNH).
  • Prescription-based management agreements targeted at farms ( ESAs) (SEERAD).
  • Development of "conservation headlands" or "extended field margins" providing benefits for farmland birds, butterflies, pollinators and natural enemies of arable crop pests as well as the maintenance of game bird populations (Game Conservancy Trust - GCT). Field-edge management is also included in Government agri-environment schemes (SEERAD – CPS RSS and LMCs.
  • Beetle banks (sown grassland strips added between tramlines).
  • The initial rotational Set Aside Scheme was modified to capitalize on the environmental opportunities. The lack of weed leaves and invertebrates associated with winter stubbles is held responsible for the population declines in bird populations. Permanent set aside options allowed the development of weedy stubbles or sown cereals and brassica species.
  • The Farm Woodland Premium Scheme and Native Pinewood Scheme have encouraged the conversion of arable and pasture land (FWPS) and heathland or semi-natural grassland (NPWS) to woodland.
  • Wetland and flooded meadow restoration have also been funded through the CPS and RSS incentive payments or by SNH, RSPB or the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) partnerships with private landowners. These schemes also accommodate the planting of new hedgerows and the buffering of riparian vegetation.
  • RSPB have taken direct action by purchasing farms to manage the land with regard to the resource requirements of farmland birds.
  • Organic Aid Scheme (OAS) (SEERAD) is partly supported because of its in-field biodiversity benefits.

Priority habitats from Scottish Local Government Habitat Action Plans are now included in prescriptions for RSS for particular regions (Birnie et al., 2004).

The UKBAP priority species review is currently being carried out and will be finished by the end of 2006. The aim of this review is to ensure the correct species and habitats are included as UKBAP priorities (UKBAP 2005). On 15 December 2005 the Deputy Environment Minister announced the publication of 'the Scottish Biodiversity List', a requirement under Part 1 Sect 2 (4) of the Nature Conservation ( Scotland ) Act 2004 (Scottish Biodiversity Forum, 2005). The Species identified in the last review from 1995 are listed in the summary of 1999 issues.

To prevent the impact of potentially damaging land management operations on SSSIs, prescription-based agreements were established by the Government on farms within defined areas of natural heritage value (ESAs). The GCT's research into the decline of red grouse and grey partridge led to solutions that had wider-ranging benefits for wildlife on farmland. Management options like grassland or wildflower strips in field margins and beetle banks have been included in the RSS. Policy changes like the introduction of NVZ rules and the SFP are likely to lead to less intensive farming methods and more beneficial conditions for habitats and species.


  • Birnie, R . V. , Dennis, P., Dunn, S., Edwards, A., Horne, P., Hill, G., Hulme, P., Paterson, E., Langan, S. and Wynn, G. (2004): Review of Recent UK and European Research Regarding Reduction, Regulation and Control of the Environmental Impacts of Agriculture;
  • CEH (2005): Invasion of Scottish seabird islands by tree mallow; External Website
  • Countryside Survey 2000 : External Website
  • Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group : External Website
  • FCS and SNH (2003): Habitat networks for wildlife and people.
  • Forestry Commission (2005): Biodiversity Briefing Note 2; Native Woodland Habitat Action Plans; External Website
  • Game Conservancy Trust : External Website
  • McGowan , G.M., Palmer, S.C.F., French, D.D., Barr, C.J., Howard , D.C. , Smart, S.M., Mackey, E.C. and Shewry, M.C. (2002): Trends in Broad Habitats: Scotland 1990-1998. Scottish National Heritage Commissioned Report F00NB03
  • Raven, M.J ., Noble, D.G. and Baillie, S.R. (2005): The Breeding Bird Survey 2004. Published by British Trust for Ornithology, Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. External Website
  • Scottish Biodiversity Forum (2005): The Scottish Biodiversity List. External Website
  • Scottish Executive (2002): Custodians of Change. Report of Agriculture and Environment Working Group; External Website
  • Scottish Executive (2004): Scotland 's Biodiversity – It's in Your Hands. A strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland. External Website
  • Scottish Executive (2005): Key Scottish Environment Statistics 2005; External Website
  • Scottish Natural Heritage : External Website
  • Scottish Natural Heritage (2004). Facts and Figures 2003-2004
  • Scottish Wildlife Trust : External Website
  • The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds ( Scotland ): External Website
  • The Wetland Bird Survey 1999-2000 : Wildfowl and Wader Counts. Musgrove, A; Pollitt, M; Hall, C; Hearn, R; Holloway, S; Marshall, P; Robinson, J and Cranswick, P (2001). BTO/ WWT/ RSPB/ JNCC.
  • The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust : External Website
  • UK Biodiversity Action Plan (2005): External Website
  • UK Biodiversity Action Plan (2002): Tracking progress – results of 2002 reporting; External Website
  • Welch, D ., Carss, D.N., Gornall, J., Manchester , S.J., Marquiss, M., Preston , C.D., Telfer, M.G., Arnold , H. and Holbrook, J. (2001): An audit of alien species in Scotland . SNH Review No 139
  • Wright, I.A., Pakeman, R.J., Dennis, P., Dalziel, A.J. and Milne, J.A. (2005): The Effects of Cattle on the Natural Heritage of Scotland . Draft Report submitted to SNH

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