Citation Newey S, Mustin K, Bryce R, Fielding D, Redpath S, Bunnefeld N, Daniel B & Irvine RJ (2016) Impact of Management on Avian Communities in the Scottish Highlands. PLoS ONE, 11 (5), Art. No.: e0155473. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155473
Abstract The protection of biodiversity is a key national and international policy objective. While protected areas provide one approach, a major challenge lies in understanding how the conservation of biodiversity can be achieved in the context of multiple land management objectives in the wider countryside. Here we analyse metrics of bird diversity in the Scottish uplands in relation to land management types and explore how bird species composition varies in relation to land managed for grazing, hunting and conservation. Birds were surveyed on the heather moorland areas of 26 different landholdings in Scotland. The results indicate that, in relation to dominant management type, the composition of bird species varies but measures of diversity and species richness do not. Intensive management for grouse shooting affects the occurrence, absolute and relative abundance of bird species. While less intensive forms of land management appear to only affect the relative abundance of species, though extensive sheep grazing appears to have little effect on avian community composition. Therefore enhanced biodiversity at the landscape level is likely to be achieved by maintaining heterogeneity in land management among land management units. This result should be taken into account when developing policies that consider how to achieve enhanced biodiversity outside protected areas, in the context of other legitimate land-uses.