Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Royston Grey Partridge Recovery Project revisited

With our Rotherfield Restoration Project blog now up and running it seems like an opportune moment to quickly revisit our Royston Grey Partridge Recovery Project which ran from 2002-10.

The project in Hertfordshire was designed to illustrate that restoring the grey partridge population in a modern farming environment was possible. The target spring population density we set ourselves was 18.6 pairs per 100ha whilst maintaining farm profitability.

We conducted intensive counts on two 1,000ha areas, one would be the reference site and the other the demonstration site.

How the demonstration site was managed

•    Partridge predators were controlled, including egg predators
•    Habitat was created or improved to provide nesting, rearing and winter cover
•    Supplementary feeding was provided in both summer and winter

The graph below shows how the two sites compared throughout the duration of the project:

Whilst we didn’t achieve the target density of 18.6 pairs per 100ha we were able to demonstrate that with the right management measures in place, a density of 15 pairs per 100ha can be achieved on a modern farm. Farmland biodiversity also improved with pheasant and red-legged partridge numbers increasing.

After the Royston Project ended in 2010 we launched the Rotherfield Game Restoration Project in Hampshire. Unlike Royston this project aims to illustrate the benefit of game management for the full range of game and other wildlife on the site and runs until 2017.

Please help support the Rotherfield Project

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