The Roxburghe Estates is carrying out a major moorland conservation programme on the upland farming unit at Byrecleugh and Rawburn near Longformacus covering an area of 4,500ha. to enhance the level of bio-diversity.
The programme will comprise habitat enhancement measures and stock management controls with the aim to deliver considerable long term benefits to wildlife and help maintain one of the unique moorland landscapes of the Borders.
The moorland improvements will bring about benefits to upland wildlife in particular Black Grouse, one of the most rapidly declining birds in Britain and on the red list of birds of conservation concern.
A reduction in stocking levels is being applied which will help ground nesting birds such as Curlew, Lapwing and Snipe. These birds require lightly stocked fields in which to nest and raise their young.
Areas of wildbird cover will be sown, which will help feed overwintering flocks of once common birds such as: Goldfinches, Linnets, Tree sparrows and Chaffinches.
Native woodland is to be encouraged by fencing off areas and by replacing conifer woodland with mixed native broadleaved trees. These measures will enhance the landscape value and improve the habitat for Black Grouse. A large hedge planting programme is also being undertaken to provide shelter and to form wildlife corridors connecting habitats such as watercourses with woodlands.
This programme is benefiting from support under the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP).