Partridges provide a “blueprint” for Europe

European biodiversity specialists have praised the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s grey partridge conservation scheme, ‘Grey Matters’, and have suggested the research could provide a “blueprint” for saving different species across Europe.

Farmland biodiversity across Europe has plummeted as agricultural production intensified, with many species seeing population decreases of over 80 per cent in just 50 years. But a project led by research ecologist Dr Francis Buner and the GWCT could help halt the decline.

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Could the ‘Grey Matters’ project help save endangered species on Europe’s farmland?

We are using our successful research on grey partridges as the blueprint for farmland wildlife recovery,” said Dr Buner. “Our work on restoring the grey partridge in the UK, which includes the development of novel wildlife-friendly habitats as well as other innovative techniques, has shown such dramatic results in the UK that many European conservation experts wish to use our model as a way of improving biodiversity in their own countries,” he said. “This is a really exciting project and it is picking up on the concept of landscape scale conservation being used in the UK but across a massive land mass.”

Frank Stubble from VLM, the equivalent of Natural England in Belgium, praised the research: “It is vital that we improve our natural environments and we see this collaboration with the GWCT’s research on grey partridge as a way of helping us to achieve our ambition, which is to learn and innovate while not detracting away from production.”

Various European conservation organisations are now interested in the potential of the scheme, and the ‘Grey Matters’ project is currently applying for funding through the EU.

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