Skye crofting and corncrake partnership

The partnership is a collaboration between the RSPB, the Scottish Agricultural College and the Scottish Crofting Federation.

Corncrake, Crex crex, at Oronsay RSPB reserve, Argyll, Scotland

Overview

Both the numbers and distribution of corncrakes have contracted on Skye in recent years to the extent there is concern for the future of this species on the island.
 
Therefore, immediate, co-ordinated and targeted action is required to improve corncrake habitats on Skye.
 
In addition, active crofting is under threat due to changing demographics and economic circumstances. The Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) is likely to be the main mechanism through which corncrake habitat and economic support for crofting will be delivered on Skye in the near future.
 
The partnership was established to harness the ecological, agricultural and crofting experience of all partners to ensure RP land management plans on the island are well-targeted, realistic and of the highest possible quality.

Objectives

  • Provide a strategic, well-targeted approach to the delivery of RP funds for corncrake on Skye.
  • Collaborate on the production of land management plans for RP applications to deliver high-quality habitat.

Progress

  • 10 March 2009: Establishment of Partnership.
  • 1 July 2009: Launch of partnership to government bodies and crofting/farming organisations.
  • July 2009 to present: Collaboration on ongoing programme of RP applications for corncrake on Skye.
  • Early 2012: 32 RP plans submitted by the initiative.

Planned Work

The partnership is engaged in a long-term rolling programme of submitting RP applications.

That process includes:

  • Selecting target sites
  • Carrying out habitat surveys and site assessments
  • Preparing full management plans for crofts and farms.
In addition, the partnership is discussing carrying our crop research trials and running skills based courses for land managers.

Results

To date (February 2012), 32 Rural Priorities applications have been successfully submitted under the banner of the Skye Crofting and Corncrake Partnership.  These cover more than two square kilometres of corncrake habitat and 52 square kilometres for other habitats and species, bringing in more than £800,000 to support small crofts and farms carrying out wildlife management on the island.
 
In addition, the partnership has prepared advisory materials for case officers handling RP applications on Skye to help ensure that funds are well-targeted.

Contacts

Coast on a stormy day

Dr Alison MacLennan

Conservation Officer, Wester Ross, Skye and Lochalsh

alison.maclennan@rspb.org.uk

Further reading

Tagged with: Country: Scotland Habitat: Farmland Habitat: Grassland Species: Corncrake Project status: Ongoing Project types: Advocacy Project types: Species protection