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Forest expansion in Scotland and its potential effects on black grouse Tetrao tetrix conservation

White, Patrick J C; Warren, Philip; Baines, David


Philip Warren

David Baines


Increasing forest cover has been the policy of various countries in recent decades. The Scottish government aims to increase national forest cover from 18% to 25% by 2050. Mid-altitude upland areas above farmland and below the natural tree line will be targeted for planting, which could impact black grouse Tetrao tetrix, a species of conservation concern which is most abundant in this zone. We used lek counts, counts of black grouse shot on sporting estates and habitat data in the Tay region to investigate distributions of black grouse in relation to forest and non-forest habitat composition. Moorland was generally selected relative to forest habitats. Planting of new forests was linked to establishment of leks and maturing of forests was linked to lek extinctions. Between 1945 and 2010, including a previous period of incentivised forest expansion, shooting densities (birds shot per km2) were significantly correlated with the area of pre-thicket (

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2013-11
Deposit Date Apr 3, 2014
Print ISSN 0378-1127
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 308
Pages 145-152
Keywords Afforestation; Black grouse; Conservation; Moorland; Wildlife habitat; Wildlife management;
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