About PARTRIDGEOur transnational partnership (researchers, farm advisors, conservationists, hunters, civil servants and farmers) are currently showcasing 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 a minimum 30% by 2023, 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, particularly in regards to the uptake of agri-environment schemes, for the long-term sustainable management of farmland ecosystems. To achieve this goal, we are working and interacting with a wide range of rural key stakeholders, building capacity among all regional and national environment agencies of the NSR, and promoting information exchange between them.
Over 7% of each demonstration site has been enhanced with existing and new high-quality wildlife habitats using tailored local management plans supplemented by winter feeding and predation management where local circumstances allow. We have developed and field tested new transnational monitoring protocols to provide evidence that our new solutions work, and are promoting efficient tools for long-term cross-border comparison of conservation measures.
We are complementing 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 is 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 first objective is to show-case an increase of biodiversity indicators by a minimum 30% at our demonstration sites by 2023. Secondly, we are working to influence future agri-environment schemes across our partner countries. To help achieve this we are studying farmers’ attitudes in regards to agri-environmental schemes, forming farmer clusters and organising 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 have been introduced across our demonstration sites, along with beetle banks, winter stubbles and conservation headlands. There has also been additional winter feeding at all sites and improved predator management where possible.”