As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Peatlands put in peril as demand for grouse shooting takes off

Grouse shooting is ruining the countryside of Northern England and Scotland, as swathes of wildlife-rich upland peatlands are burned to provide the optimum conditions for commercial red grouse, the RSPB has warned.

As much as 77,000 hectares, or 770 square kilometres, of upland peatland has been badly damaged by burning so far, with a marked acceleration in the rate in the past 15 years that looks set to continue as grouse shooting becomes increasingly popular, the RSPB said.

The Pennines, the North York Moors, the Peak District, Dartmoor and the East Highland Glens are the regions most affected by the burning, which has widespread repercussions for local wildlife as well as the fight against climate change and floods. A further 50,000 hectares of this wetland has been drained over the years, in part to help grouse populations, the RSPB adds, pointing out that while this practice is rare nowadays the effects of the drains cut into the hill can last for up to 50 years.

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