Access to the Countryside: Observations on wildlife made during closures of the countryside during the 2001 Foot and Mouth disease epidemic (ENRR486)

An investigation by questionnaire survey if there were any responses of wildlife to access closure as a result of a major outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in 2001. The questionnaire was aimed at people who still had access to the countryside during the epidemic, such as landowners or occupiers, keepers, foresters and land managers. The key purpose was to investigate direct changes in wildlife associated with an absence of people in the countryside, rather than changes in grazing etc. The general tentative conclusion was that the balance of observations supports the research and suggests a discernible ecological effect on certain sensitive species. Whilst a behavioural and distributional effect was demonstrated, properly targeted research would be required to elucidate any changes that could become significant at the population level.

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