Since 2000, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is conducting the project “Green shoots” which aims to achieve public conservation targets by working with the shooting community and partners to target conservation effort on land which is shot over.
They have found it crucial to produce evidence in order to demonstrate the scope of the work and the positive results of hunters’ contribution to wildlife and habitats.
The “Green shoots” project gave BASC the framework to record what species and habitats of national importance could be found on members’ land. Members were then given the opportunity to work with partners on projects that achieved public conservation targets.
The involvement of hunters is then twofold:
1) Providing wildlife information
- The basis of all conservation action is good quality information
- Sharing this knowledge with the conservation community
2) Undertaking projects that achieve biodiversity targets
- Specific actions by shooters on many individual sites combine to have a major benefit on a large scale
- Working in partnership with others
Most recently, an example of the benefits which shooting brings to conservation has been recognised by the Welsh Assembly Government.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s (BASC) Green Shoots programme which supports, encourages and delivers conservation projects in Wales and across the UK was identified as an example of sustainable land management by the National Assembly for Wales’ Environment and Sustainability Committee.
Nick Thomas of Natural Resources Wales said: “Green Shoots is an excellent conservation project which has focused the attention of BASC members on what they can do for endangered wildlife and habitats across North Wales. Both ourselves and BASC are committed to natural resource management and work together to improve the rich biodiversity and natural heritage of Wales. The work done so far includes a number of positive conservation projects which have enhanced habitats for species as diverse as newts, dormice and bats.”
Tim Russell, BASC’s director of conservation said: “Politicians, civil servants and society all know how important a healthy environment is. BASC’s Green Shoots programme shows how shooting benefits the environment at the landscape scale, creating better habitats and linking them together. This provides wildlife with the flexibility it needs to adapt and thrive. I am pleased that the Welsh Assembly understands that the sustainable land management carried out by people that shoot is central to the future of wildlife in Wales and across the UK.”
The Green Shoots project was recognised by the committee after it was presented with a selection of case studies that showed sustainable land management schemes in action.