Upland

Grazing domestic animals is a dominant land use in upland and alpine habitats.
Male Ring Ouzel, Turdus torquatus. Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

Overview

This often co-exists with other uses, including forestry, sport shooting, recreation, renewable energy generation and water storage.

The interaction between low-intensity agriculture and environmental variation in upland landscapes can support communities of exceptional biodiversity value. For example, UK upland breeding bird assemblages are of great international conservation importance.

But pressure from grazing regimes, commercial forestry, grouse moor management, climate change and renewable energy developments pose complex challenges for upland nature conservation. Declines of many species reported in Bird Atlas 2007-2011 suggest these challenges are not being successfully tackled.

Our research in upland systems focuses on understanding how bird populations and their habitats are responding to these environmental changes and the interventions needed to reverse losses. Grazing domestic animals is a dominant land use in upland and alpine habitats. 

Who's involved

Coast on a stormy day

Dr David Douglas

Principal Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science

david.douglas@rspb.org.uk
Coast on a stormy day

Prof Jeremy Wilson

Head of Research in Scotland, Conservation Science

jeremy.wilson@rspb.org.uk
Coast on a stormy day

Dr Staffan Roos

Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science

staffan.roos@rspb.org.uk
Coast on a stormy day

Nick Wilkinson

Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science

nick.wilkinson@rspb.org.uk

Related publications

Managing uplands for biodiversity: Do agri-environment schemes deliver benefits for breeding lapwing

Within Europe, agri-environment schemes are the key delivery mechanism for biodiversity conservation outside protected areas. Schemes have a range of land management options designed to deliver ...

Date
17 April 2013
RSPB Authors
Dr Jennifer Smart, Prof Richard Gregory, Dr Mark Bolton
Authors
Smart, J., Bolton, M., Hunter, F., Quayle, H., Thomas, G. & Gregory, R.D.
Published in
Journal of Applied Ecology
View publication Details
Lapwing UK Agriculture UK species Upland

The size of the Scottish population of capercaillie Tetrao urogallus: results of the fourth national survey

Capsule The estimated population size of Capercaillie in Scotland was 1285 individuals (95% CI: 8221882). Aim To produce an updated population estimate for Capercaillie in Scotland using a similar app...

Date
16 February 2012
RSPB Authors
Dr Steven Ewing, Dr Mark Eaton
Authors
Ewing, S.R., Eaton, M.A., Poole, T.F., Davies, M. & Haysom, S.
Published in
Bird Study
View publication Details
Capercaillie Scotland Identifying problems Upland

Upland land use predicts population decline in a globally near-threatened wader

Changes in large-scale land use may fragment and degrade habitats, affecting animal species adapted to these habitats.

Date
16 October 2013
RSPB Authors
Dr David Douglas, Paul Bellamy, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Douglas, D.J.T., Bellamy, P.E., Stephen, L.S., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Wilson, J.D. & Grant, M.C.
Published in
Journal of Applied Ecology
View publication Details
Curlew UK UK species Upland