The importance of hunters in protected areas management
Protected areas are an important part of the EU’s approach to nature conservation. Although they are delivering mixed results for biodiversity, the principles of the Natura 2000 Network are good.
They ensure that decision-making and management are based on site needs. This Network also benefits from the fact that it is based on the principles of conservation and sustainable use, ensuring lasting coexistence with human activities and biodiversity conservation.
As such “there is no general presumption against hunting in Natura 2000 areas under the nature directives” – European Commission 2007, Guide to Sustainable Hunting under the Birds Directive.
The Black Grouse triggers the designation of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the Natura 2000 Network in EU Member States. In recent years, the Polish population of Black Grouse has declined significantly to an estimated 200 males remaining in several isolated populations.
In the first half of the 20th century, there were tens of thousands of individuals. In response to the decline, the Polish State Forests joined a major project to conserve the Black Grouse (2017-2022). The work involves 18 organisational units of the State Forests and is undertaken in close cooperation with key stakeholders including hunters.
It is important that these birds are best adapted to life in the wild, hence those translocated from wild populations and those reintroduced using the “born to be free” method, and are considered particularly valuable individuals. Constant monitoring is carried out, thanks to which up-to-date data on the black grouse population is available.
FACE is proud to select the Polish Black Grouse Conservation project as the FACE Biodiversity Manifesto project of the month for February.
Photo Credit: Aleksander Adamski.