NSR-Interreg-Project: Working across borders to save the “PARTRIDGE” and restore farmland wildlife (2017-2023)

The main aim of the PARTRIDGE-Project is to demonstrate the feasibility of successful restoration of farmland biodiversity. Therefore we aim to increase biodiversity by 30 % in the demonstration sites by 2020. Our success will be measured on the basis of the grey partridge number (breeding birds), the population size of other farmland birds as well as the number of brown hares. As partridges have high habitat requirements, their population size is a key indicator for the health of farmland ecosystems.
This project - on encouraging farmland biodiversity - is conducted in five regions in Western Europe (England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany). The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust in England is leading the project and the Workgroup on Endangered Species at Georg-August-University Göttingen is responsible for the German part. Each study region establishes four project sites. In 7% of two of the sites an improvement in biodiversity is to be achieved by introducing landscape elements such as flower blocks or beetle banks, specifically developed to serve this purpose.
Flower blocks provide cover, nesting sites and insect-rich foraging grounds - everything that partridges need to thrive. This species has lost 94 % of its populations across Europe since the 1980s, mainly caused by homogenization of landscapes and agricultural intensification. On all four project sites, biodiversity will be monitored over the course of four years, with a focus on farmland birds and the grey partridge as the main target species. The information collected during this project will teach us about the average size and amount of enhanced areas required to stop and reverse declining trends of farmland birds. We will test different landscape elements for their efficiency in improving habitat quality.
To optimize existing conservation measures a socio-economic study on the acceptance of agri-environment schemes will be conducted in order to detect possible problems. A key component of the project is active communication between all important stakeholders. For this purpose farmers, hunters, the public, politicians and other influencers will be encouraged to visit the demonstrations-sites and discuss further practices. Our aim is to convincing both local stakeholders as well as national and EU-wide decision makers.

PARTRIDGE is funded by the EU North Sea Region Program Interreg. The German part of the Project is co-funded by Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung, Deutscher Jagdverband and Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung.

Dr. Eckhard Gottschalk
Lisa Dumpe
+49 (0)551 39-23696