Dr Will Peach

Head of Research Delivery Section, Conservation Science

Background

I lead a team of research staff working on conservation problems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our work focuses on diagnosing causes of bird population declines and testing conservation solutions. We also assess the effectiveness of conservation action.

Lowland farmland is an area of particular expertise where we design and test practical conservation solutions for birds and other taxonomic groups. At RSPB’s Hope Farm, we are developing sustainable arable farming to promote wildlife while maintaining yields and minimising wider externalities.

Our work in Wales and Northern Ireland focuses mainly on upland, farmland and marine ecosystems. Recent projects include the value of marginal Welsh upland for wildlife and carbon storage, restoration management for molinia domination in the Welsh uplands and surveys of breeding waders and farmland birds in Northern Ireland.

I am also interested in factors affecting urban wildlife, with recent work on house sparrows, swifts and RSPB's Hope Community project in Aylesbury. I have been Principal Investigator on several consortium-based Defra-funded projects, most recently involving experimental cattle grazing to boost invertebrate abundance on improved grassland.

Currently active projects include the impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on birds, the impact of hunting on turtle doves and the merits of land sparing vs. land sharing for UK birds.

External Activities

  • 2012 - 2013: Member of Defra's Green Food Project (Synthesis Group)
  • 2011 - 2014: Member of Technical Group for Defra's Campaign for the Farmed Environment
  • 2008 - 2011: Member of British Ornithologists' Union Council

Partners and Collaboration

  • Dr Beatriz Arroyo, Catalonian Institute for Energy Research (IREC), Spain
  • Dr Kate Arnold, University of York
  • Prof Andrew Balmford, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Mariecia Fraser, The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), University of Aberystwyth

Contact

Will Peach

Dr Will Peach

Head of Research Delivery Section, Conservation Science

The Lodge, Potton Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL

will.peach@rspb.org.uk

Research Gate

Specialisms

Agriculture UK species

Selected Publications

The influence of crop tiller density on the breeding performance of a cereal-nesting specialist

In the pursuit of maximizing agricultural yields and profits, crop management under intensive agriculture has reduced the heterogeneity of crop sward structure...

Date
18 July 2016
RSPB Authors
Dr Rosemary Setchfield, Dr Will Peach
Authors
Setchfield, R.P. & Peach, W.J.
Published in
Journal of Applied Ecology 53: 1430-1439
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Agriculture

Can hedgerow management mitigate the impacts of predation on songbird nest survival?

Nest predators can have significant impacts on songbird reproductive success. These impacts may be amplified by habitat simplification and here we test whether sympathetic management of farmland hedgerows can reduce nest...

Date
01 December 2016
RSPB Authors
Dr Jenny Dunn, Derek Gruar, Dr Will Peach
Authors
Dunn, J.C., Gruar, D., Stoate, C., Szczur, J. & Peach, W.J.
Published in
Journal of Environmental Management 184: 535-544.
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UK Agriculture UK species

Higher-tier agri-environment scheme enhances breeding densities of some priority farmland birds in England

Agri-environment schemes (AES) are the main policy mechanism available to reverse the widespread losses of farmland biodiversity across Europe. Previous examples of AES enhancing the abundance of farmland birds have been restricted to...

Date
23 January 2015
RSPB Authors
Dr Tony Morris, Dr Rob Field, Dr Leila Walker, Dr Will Peach
Authors
Bright, J.A., Morris, T., Field, R.H., Cooke, A.I., Grice; P.V., Walker, L., Fern, J. & Peach, W.
Published in
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 203: 69-79
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England Agriculture UK species

Manipulating grass silage management to boost reproductive output of a ground-nesting farmland bird

Grass fodder crops are attractive nesting habitats for a suite of declining farmland bird species that nest in taller grass swards. Multiple, early silage harvests cause substantial losses of nests and flightless fledglings, making this widespread crop an influential population sink in temperate farmland. We ...

Date
28 April 2015
RSPB Authors
Dr David Buckingham, Dr Will Peach
Authors
Buckingham, D., Giovannini, P. & Peach, W.J.
Published in
Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
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Agriculture

Invertebrate prey availability limits reproductive success but not breeding population size in suburban House Sparrows Passer domesticus

Factors affecting avian demography and abundance in urban landscapes are poorly understood and this hinders attempts to manage urban bird communities. Several recent studies indicate that lack of invertebrate prey in urban landscapes may constrain avian productivity and fitness relative ...

Date
23 April 2015
RSPB Authors
Dr Will Peach
Authors
Peach, W., Mallord, J., Ockendon, N., Orsman, C. & Haines, W.G.
Published in
Ibis
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House sparrow England UK species