The main aim of the project was to assess the effects and impacts of Agri-environment Schemes (AES) on key bird species breeding in the English uplands, especially in relation to Agri-environment scheme (AES) agreements and individual or groups of key AES options likely to influence upland breeding birds. In addition, the data collected by the project should have enabled the production of more precise population trends for a wide range of upland specialist and non-specialist bird species in England. It was part of the ES Evidence Plan programme and was funded by Defra.
This project produced the following outputs:
To date there has been only limited, detectable, positive impact of ES management in the uplands on bird populations. Those benefits that have occurred were found above the moorland line, whereas there may be significant problems with options in enclosed grassland. The results need to be considered in the future development and implementation of AES prescriptions in the uplands and the monitoring of their effects. Research priorities should include the assessment of the scales at which upland birds use their habitat and are therefore likely to respond most strongly to quantities of management. Revised, more targeted monitoring of rarer species using more intensive field approaches, in which bird abundance is measured more precisely than it is in the Breeding Bird Survey is also required.