Black Grouse and Upland Restoration Project

For over a decade SUP, along with a wide range of landowners and stakeholders, has been undertaking upland and black grouse research, lek surveying and, in more recent years, developing the outcomes of this work into a landscape focused restoration project.

Project research:


‘Undoing the Silence of the Southern Uplands’ project

During late 2022 and early 2023 a multi-stakeholder project, led by SUP and RSPB Scotland, pulled together all the previous research and consultation into a single upland restoration project spanning southern Scotland from Galloway Forest Park in the west to the Moorfoot Hills in the east. Taking the once abundant black grouse as its start point, the project successfully applied for development funding from the NatureScot Nature Recovery Fund (NRF) to develop a fully costed landscape delivery project that will take significant positive steps to address the health of our uplands and its totemic species. The development phase report was submitted to NatureScot in June 2023, closely followed by a formal £1.4m funding application to deliver a range of practical upland habitat works. The funding announcement is due late September 2023.

The project includes:

  • Habitat restoration and management across five areas, including low density broadleaf planting, rewetting peatlands, removal of non-native tree regeneration,  heather swiping, pond creation, no-fence collar grazing
  • Formulisation of landowner cluster groups and development of wider participants
  • Species and habitat surveying and monitoring (status/condition relating to project activities)
  • Community engagement
    • Volunteering
    • Tree provenance and nurseries
  • Recruitment of an Uplands Project Officer to lead on all the above aspects

The following are linked project strands still to be developed and funded separately from this NRF project:

  • Community engagement
    • Black Grouse Community Place Plans
    • Community awareness and education
  • Cultural Soundscape and Arts
  • Support communities in gaining an understanding of their role in the protection of the upland landscape and empower their action in its recovery

This project has been jointly led with the RSPB Scotland.  The core project partners are: Airds Estate, Borders Forest Trust, Buccleuch Estate, Carbon Crichton Centre, Carcant Estate, Forestry & Land Scotland, Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere, John Muir Trust, National Trust for Scotland, NatureScot, Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, Wemyss & March Estates, Woodland Trust. With wider stakeholder support from Game & Wildlife Conservancy Trust, Scottish Water, SEPA, Tweed Forum.


This project is supported by the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund, managed by NatureScot

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