Machair Grassland is a rare coastal habitat of low-lying grassland and shell sand unique to the north-western fringe of Europe. Over 90 per cent of the world’s machair is in Scotland and Ireland.
This landscape supports an outstanding variety of wildlife, including corncrakes, the highest densities of breeding waders in the UK and a large number of invertebrates.
One of the main aims of this Futurescape is working with crofters. Together, we’ll ensure the traditional, low intensity crofting methods intrinsically linked to machair are encouraged and maintained.
This will involve providing advice on agri-environment schemes and negotiating management agreements with crofters and landowners.
Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:
This beautiful Hebridean reserve has sandy beaches, rocky foreshore, marshes and sand dunes. An information centre explains the importance of traditional crofting agriculture for corncrakes and other wildlife. Many wading and farmland birds make their nests on the flower-rich machair and croft-land.
We're working to safeguard and improve special places for nature. Each Futurescape contains a range of initiatives in addition to our reserves. The combination of these creates better conditions for wildlife across the countryside.
Machair Life+ is a four-year project which aims to demonstrate that traditional crofting practices have a sustainable future. By engaging in management agreements with crofters it aims to show these traditional techniques benefit biodiversity. The project is also assisting with crop protection from greylag geese as well as conducting community work.
Corn buntings were once one of the most common small birds of the Scottish islands, but these populations are now reduced to a remnant on the Uists in the Outer Hebrides, where less than 100 territories remain. This population is declining and conservation measures that provide more winter food, particularly ripe cereal grain, are likely to help recovery.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in the Machair Grassland. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:
The LIFE + Futurescapes Information and Communications programme 2011–2015 was generously funded through the EU LIFE Nature fund. LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed nearly 4,000 projects, contributing approximately €2.8 billion to the protection of the environment.
Saving special places
Fate of Coul Links now in the hands of Scottish Government URGENT call to action
Those of you following the campaign to Save Coul Links will know that we’re part of a group of conservation organisations fighting to stop proposals for a golf course on this triple protected wildlife site. Coul Links is one of the Scotland’s...(read...Posted 22/06/2018 by Andre Farrar
New research reveals nightingales thriving at Lodge Hill despite further UK declines
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#SaveCoulLinks - an urgent update from a vital campaign
My colleague, Kate Bellew, Senior Conservation Planner at RSPB Scotland has just posted this blog following an important meeting held by Highland Council to decide on the fate of Coul Links. Given the significance of the case - I'm reproducing...(rea...Posted 12/06/2018 by Andre Farrar
Planning Policy Wales: Securing a brighter future for nature in Wales
Following my blog 11 days ago on the draft National Planning Policy Framework for England, I'm delighted to introduce this guest blog on Planning Policy Wales by my colleague Christopher O'Brien. Guest blog by RSPB Cymru Senior Policy Officer...(read...Posted 21/05/2018 by Simon Marsh