They might have a point where the moors were drained, but most of that was for sheep, not grouse
IIRC, Lyndsey waddle and the MGA were encouraging people to revert that and block drains to retain bog flushes years ago, because they're so important for insects and cotton grass to supplement the diet.
They've also glossed over the fact that the burning prevents sucession, a key factor in keeping it from drying out.
What's really baffling about this report are the quotations from the CLA. Was their spokesman mis-quoted, drunk, or being disengenuous in order to promote the case for grants?
Mis-quotation would be par for the course for the BBC; being drunk is no crime, but most of us would know better than to talk to reporters when three sheets to the wind; but it would surely be an invidious strategy in any case deliberately to misrepresent the truth, and especially here, since the case for the benefits for peat conservation that proper moorland management for grouse provides is a very strong one, especially if properly understood and represented - which, of course, is precisely what the CLA should be doing.
As it stands, however, the BBC report is totally a**e-about-face. Staggering!
Our analysis has highlighted that upland peat in England is generally in a degradedcondition due to a combination of land use and management practices, andpollution.
Detailed surveys show that the majority of upland peat is physically degraded andvirtually all is affected by historic and on-going atmospheric pollution (Figure 4.3).18 • Almost all (98%) of the total area of deep peat in England suffers from a legacy ofacidification and heavy metal contamination from centuries of industrial air pollution.It continues to be adversely impacted by ammonia emissions from lowland agriculturalproduction and oxidised nitrogen pollution from fossil fuel burning. These acidify thepeat and raise nutrient levels, which cause peat-forming vegetation to be replaced bynutrient-demanding species such as grasses.
Around one-fifth (750 km2) has been drained through the cutting of shallow ditches(known as ‘grips’). This was the result of grants to land managers to drain moorlandfor agricultural improvement in the post-war period. Gripped peats drain water morequickly away from the mossy surface, which thins or disappears completely.
Nearly 500 km2 (14%) is gullied; these are branched erosion features that extend intothe peat mass to form a network of channels. These often erode down to the minerallayer under the peat and lose peat material from their bare sides.
The uplands support around 3 million sheep (45% of the national stock) with stockinglevels increasing from the 1950s onwards in response to targeted payments.19 Farmerswere encouraged to stock hardy breeds that could withstand longer periods on themoors. This led to many areas becoming overgrazed. Although stocking levels havedeclined over the last decade or so,20 around 300 km2 of deep peat (9%) continue tosuffer from the impacts of overgrazing.
So am wondering why he singled out grouse shooting
It is a load of ********. Grouse moors rarely drain peat. It is an essential commodity to maintain heather. The majority is drained by the good old FC, re forestry ploughing. That is where the majority of hags were lost. That is where the flooding started as the water shed is so much faster from the plough drains.
Its completley twisted, as on one hand it talks about reducing CO2, whereas on the other it talks about their importance as SSSI's and seems to conflate reversing the condition of declining SSSI moorland as being one and the same thing as restoration of wet peatland - of course anyone with any knowledge of upland habitat knows that in a great many cases the SSSI value is maintained by the heather structure created by burning, and that the reverse in the decline of many of these SSSI's has been done through increasing their value as grouse moors, not through cessation of burning.
I can see one thing immediately that would suggest an anti-grouse shooting stance and that would be an ex-RSPB executive on its board.
I'm sorry but we seem obsessed with the issue of global warming and yet China,USA,India,Pakistan etc etc keep throwing more crap into the atmosphere than we ever could.I'm not saying that we shouldn't be concerned but without compliance from other countries it seems a little pointless at times.
Most folk are spot on wot a croc of sh** and severly twited the original findings. It seems every possible story is twisted out of all recognition to suit their motives. Makes u wonder about some off the other stories which u know nothing about, how twisted/true are they?
Generally any of the moors managed for grouse the peat and general upland environment are in better condition than unshot moors. As others have already highlighted most off damage was done by planting for forestry and over grazing by sheep. With grouse becoming more vaible recently it's really safeguarding areas from forestry and most moors have dramatically reduced stocking rates if not removed sheep altogether.
And there are some moors blocking gripes with bales of straw and spreading some sort of spagnum pellets/seed to try and fill them up as well as a few moors attempting to un-reclaim areas of rough grazing trying to sow it back to heather
Also a totally unmanaged unburned moor is a ecological ticking time bomb wildfire is a disaster waiting to happen and most unmanaged moors are near to useless for most wildlife as not enough variation, in heather ages and enough tender nutritous young heather, rank heather is almost like a monoculture of arable on low ground, not many animals like a monoculture