Black grouse Tetrao tetrix, adult male on lek. Corrimony RSPB reserve. Scotland.

Conservation

Because of the complexity of problems faced by the black grouse, no single action is expected to produce a wide-scale recovery, particularly since the limiting factors appear to vary from region to region.

Habitat management

Habitat management needs to involve whole, integrated landscapes rather than single habitats. Changes in farming policies to promote low intensity mixed farming, reduction in grazing intensity, removal of deer fencing, management of the deer population and sympathetic forest management, or even restructuring of plantation forests could all benefit black grouse.

With intensive habitat management the black grouse can thrive. At the RSPB's Abernethy nature reserve, the number of cock black grouse increased from 45 to 184 between 1991 and 1997, following deer management, removal of fencing and regeneration of heather and bilberry.

Black grouse Tetrao tetrix, adult male on lek. Corrimony RSPB reserve. Scotland.

Reserves

Reserves managed to benefit the black grouse are important both as sanctuaries for the species, and in providing valuable demonstrations to other land owners and managers of the potential of such management. However, changes to the wider countryside policy are required if black grouse are to be maintained outside nature reserves.