About PARTRIDGEOur transnational partnership (researchers, farm advisors, conservationists, hunters, civil servants and farmers) will show-case best practice models at 10 farmland demonstration sites in four NSR nations to show how new management solutions can improve biodiversity and ecosystem services by up 30% in four years, and how these can be transferred across all regions of the NSR and the EU.
Our overall objective is to bring about a change in behaviours and working practices, in particular in regards to the uptake of agri-environment schemes, for the long-term sustainable management of farmland ecosystems. To achieve this goal we will work and interact with a wide range of rural key stakeholders, build capacity among all regional and national environment agencies of the NSR, and promote information exchange between them.
Over 7% of each demonstration site will be enhanced with existing and new high-quality wildlife habitats using tailored local management plans complemented by winter feeding and predation management. We will develop and field test new transnational monitoring protocols to provide evidence that our new solutions work, and to promote efficient tools for long-term cross-border comparison of conservation measures.
We will complement our multidisciplinary approach by collecting and disseminating new socio-economic information on rural stakeholder behaviour which is necessary to improve the uptake and efficiency of agri-environment schemes across the EU member states.
Dr Francis Buner, Senior Conservation Scientist at the GWCT and Head of PARTRIDGE comments; “The main emphasis of PARTRIDGE is to demonstrate how the loss of farmland biodiversity can be reversed successfully across our partner countries. The key focus will be on grey partridge-tailored high quality habitat improvements, the loss of which are a key factor in the decline of farmland wildlife and ecosystem services across Europe.
Our objective is to show-case an increase of biodiversity indicators by 30% at our demonstration sites by 2020 and to influence future agri-environment schemes across our partner countries. To help achieve this we will study farmer’s attitudes in regards to agri-environmental schemes, form farmer clusters, organise farm walks and transnational demonstration site visits for farmers and civil servants."
“The grey partridge is one of the best indicators of farmland ecosystem health, hence where partridges thrive, biodiversity is high and ecosystem services are intact. In areas where few or no partridges exist, the farm environment is typically much degraded. We have found that the habitat option which delivers one of the highest overall benefits for grey partridges is wild bird seed mixes. Therefore, as part of the project, seed mixes based on a mix developed by our German partner will be introduced across our demonstration sites, along with beetle banks, winter stubbles and conservation headlands. There will also be additional winter feeding at all sites and improved predator management where possible.”
Dr Buner adds; “Recently, all project partners met at GWCT Headquarters in Fordingbridge for their first meeting after PARTRIDGE was approved by the NSR programme Secretariat. During the visit, we organised a field visit and discussed management details for our 10 demonstration sites and monitoring protocols. The next meeting will be held in the Netherlands at the end of January.”