Scotland’s grouse moors should be replaced by natural woodland.
That’s the suggestion from Revive, a collective of environmental organisations, that has called for the carefully managed landscapes to be rewilded to support biodiversity and act as much-needed carbon sinks.
It says grouse moors are lacking in biodiversity, are less “biologically productive” and provide fewer benefits to ecosystems than woodlands, scrub and peat-forming bogs could – currently, around 19% of Scotland’s land area is used for both walked-up and driven grouse shooting.
The report claims “grouse moors will maintain a large area of Scotland’s land in an impoverished state” and suggests they should be transitioned into woodland, scrub cover and functioning bogs to support wildlife, be more resilient to environmental change and provide new sources of income for local people.
It predicts this would provide benefits at the “local, regional, national and global level”, compared to the 0.04% Gross Value Added to the economy by grouse moors currently.
The report says: “Promoting a widescale change from driven grouse moor management towards sustainable, multiple land uses in a more wooded landscape would make a major contribution to addressing two of the most significant environmental issues of our time: the climate emergency and catastrophic biodiversity loss.
“Furthermore, it would improve the provision of a wide range of other ecosystem services and natural resources and as well as improving resilience to climate change and novel pests and diseases.”