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Title of the project

Restoring black-grouse habitats


A long series of experiments aiming to restore habitats suitable for nesting and rearing chicks were performed at the initiative of different hunting organisations.

The Mountain Galliforme Observatory (the association which encompasses the National Office for Hunting and Wildlife, Departmental Hunting Federations, national parks and regional natural parks) noted not fewer than 120 operations, on a total of 524 hectares of land, since 1989, which represents a financial effort of around 900,000 euros. Works which benefited Black grouse were usually incorporated into mountain pasture improvements. These accomplished two goals: they recreated a habitat favourable to Black grouse and they kick-started the socio-economics of declining rural zones.
Taking the example of four reference sites, restoration works took place in previous Black grouse breeding areas, progressively deserted the further the ligneus invasion progressed. Two types of operations were undertaken: automated rhododendron land crushing and cutting of green alders, on strips of an average of 2,4 ha. The aim was to have a difference in vegetation in coverings and open areas. The necessary material was sometimes delivered by helicopters.

The hunters also participated to a study in order to evaluate the efficiency of the operations. The study has been conducted by means of census performed in August (year??) with the help of hunt-point-retrieve (HPR) dogs.


Considering the rising costs, are these operations efficient? A study conducted on four reference sites, where 25 habitat restoration operations took place on 60 ha, answered this question. It evaluated the benefits for Black grouse hens on the one hand and on their reproductive success on the other hand, by means of censuses performed in August with the help of hunt-point-retrieve (HPR) dogs. The results of this study allowed comparisons to be made between the converted sectors with the control (unconverted) sectors.The analysis shows a significant advantage for the worked on areas, either through an increase in the number of hens or young, or through a reduced decline in numbers as compared with the unconverted areas.


Country France
Level National

Habitat Types

Scrub/Grassland, Mountains


Species Caracteristics Huntable species
Species Type Birds

Conservation action(s)

Management of habitats and wildlife (e.g. conservation and restoration activities), Research and data collection (e.g. monitoring, bag data)


Other partners ONCFS - Office national de la chasse et de la faune sauvage (http://www.oncfs.gouv.fr/)Departmental Hunting Federations (http://www.chasseurdefrance.com/)The Mountain Galliforme Observatory (http://www.observatoire-galliformes-montagne.com/) wich encompasses the National Office for Hunting and Wildlife, departmental Hunting Federations, national parks and regional natural parks.

Estimation of the budget (total or annual)

900,000 euros from 1989 to 2004 The average cost of restoration was estimated at an average of 1000 euros/ha


Hunting, an added value for BiodiversityFACE - Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EUconservation@face-europe.org2004