Summer expo introduces PARTRIDGE measures to broader public
The PARTRIDGE way
Farmland birds are having a hard time. Grey partridges are no exception. They spend their entire life on and around our farmlands but finding food, cover and safe nesting grounds is becoming increasingly difficult. Local farmers, hunters and researchers have been successfully cooperating at 10 different PARTRIDGE demonstration sites for over 5 years now. Together we are demonstrating and promoting scientifically based measures which are offering high-quality habitat for grey partridges and farmland biodiversity generally. Think of flower blocks, beetle banks, hedges, winter stubbles, etc.
Illustrating measures to a broader public…
Two of these 500 ha demonstration sites are located in Flanders (Belgium). A temporary PARTRIDGE exhibition for young and old at the Flemish demo site in Ramskapelle illustrates and explains visitors how this project is aiming to increase farmland biodiversity in their region. ‘Our project goal of creating at least 7% of high-quality partridge habitat at the demo site has been amply achieved’, Willem Van Colen, researcher at Inagro and project partner, explains. ‘For the remaining time of the project we are focusing on optimising the installed measures and sharing our experiences, insights and results with everyone who needs to know.’ This expo is part of a yearly recurring event organised by the city of Nieuwpoort, attracting a few thousand visitors each year.
… and putting farmers and hunters in the spotlight
A lot has happened and still is happening at the Ramskapelle demo site. Local farmers are managing around 20 hectares of flower blocks and tens of hectares of floristically enhanced grass strips. They are also experimenting with beetle banks and planting shrubs for partridges. Hunters are putting feeders on the fields over winter and are helping with the monitoring of partridges and hares. The exhibition for the broader public will increase the awareness among the general public about the efforts done by these important stakeholders. ‘It is time to put our farmers and hunters in the spotlight’, Willem Van Colen emphasizes. ‘All too often it is suggested that farmers are not concerned with biodiversity. But our project shows for a fact that half of the 32 farmers in this demonstration site are implementing biodiversity measures on their fields and about one third of them is installing our PARTRIDGE measures.’, Willem concludes.
Written by Inagro, PARTRIDGE demo site managing partner in Flanders; edited by Francis Buner, GWCT and Head of PARTRIDGE