Development of effective conservation policy

SRMS data are fed into key conservation reports, making an important contribution to conservation policy and management, including:

  • Conservation Frameworks for both Golden Eagles and Hen Harriers. These look at the status of raptor populations and identify constraints that may be acting on them at both a regional and national level. They are designed to help guide the conservation and management of the focal species.
  • SRMS data for twelve of the rarest SRMS species (Honey-buzzardWhite-tailed EagleMarsh HarrierHen HarrierNorthern GoshawkGolden EagleOspreyLong-eared OwlShort-eared OwlMerlinEurasian Hobbyand Peregrine Falcon) are shared with the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP). The report of rare breeding birds in the UK published annually by RBBP provides for the majority of rare and scarce raptor species the most accurate annual population figures at a number of levels: at individual county or bird recording area; by each of the four constituent countries of the UK; and at the overall UK level. Because data are collected in a consistent manner year on year, alongside a measure of coverage, these figures provide either accurate annual estimates or a measure of year-on-year trends. This up-to-date status information provides an important input to species conservation in terms of assisting conservation policy, the assessment of UK populations against European directives and the periodic assessments of UK species of conservation concern (the Red and Amber lists).
  • SRMS data feed into the annual report “The State of UK’s Birds“via the SCARABBS survey. This important report is published by RSPB on behalf of BTO, WWT, JNCC and the statuary agencies NatureScot, NE, NRW and NIEA in the four UK countries.
  • SRMS data are also used in the “Birds of Conservation Concern” assessment that is published regularly by RSPB on behalf of a large number of NGOs and the statutory agencies. This review sets the well-known traffic light system of Red, Amber and Green that is used to list species of conservation concern, based on evaluations using objective listing criteria and the most recent data on population status and change.

Some raptor species are highly ‘politicised’ and the subject of substantial public debate and sometimes conflict, for instance in relation to illegal persecution and the reasons behind it. Access to good solid data on raptor numbers and productivity is critical to informing raptor conservation policy in Scotland. SRMS data are also used by NatureScot and Scottish Government to inform responses to Parliamentary Questions, Ministerial Correspondence and to provide information for briefings about a wide range of raptor related topics. It is critical for NatureScot and the Scottish Government to have solid objective data on Scottish breeding raptors to respond to these requests about raptors and raptor conservation.