Over the last two years, more land managers in the Cairngorms National Park have been able to make their land more capercaillie-friendly thanks to a new grant scheme. Developed and delivered by the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project, the scheme offered grants of up to £5,000 – plus advice and support – to landowners in the National Park whose land holds some ‘quick wins’ for capercaillie. The scheme was designed for land managers of any size who want to undertake locally relevant actions to help the species.
The grants helped to subsidise works which are not funded through other schemes, helping cover the cost of machinery, equipment, materials and contractors required to deliver a range of solutions, including expanding habitat, reducing disturbance (for example by encouraging tree growth along paths) and undertaking predator control.
Last year three landowners took advantage of the scheme. You can read more about the work they delivered here, which included restructuring woodlands and marking fences to prevent collisions.
In 2022, four more successful applicants have been improving capercaillie habitat on their own land thanks to the financial and advisory support provided by the scheme. Invercauld Estate, in Royal Deeside, was one of this year’s grant recipients.
Angus McNicol, Invercauld’s Estate Manager, said “We successfully applied for a grant from the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project in 2022 to enable us to fence mark an area of 1,500m which is outwith the 1km buffer zone of a known Capercaillie lek. The area within the fence has been planted with 15,580 native Scots Pine which, in time, will provide further habitat for Capercaillie on Upper Deeside. Whilst not funded by the grant, the Estate’s gamekeepers in the area also undertake control of foxes in the area to reduce predation. These measures combine to provide a holistic approach to capercaillie conservation.”
With the Capercaillie Habitat Grant Scheme now closed, work is underway to measure the impact of the habitat improvement work delivered through the scheme. Those findings will then be used to identify and address gaps in other funding schemes to ensure land managers of all sizes can continue to access the support they need to help capercaillie once the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project ends in 2023.
Thank you to all the land managers that have helped to make the grant scheme a success over the last two years and used the funding available to help capercaillie thrive on their land.
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