The Project

For several reasons grouse species were assumed to be suitable focus species for projects aiming to integrate nature protection with other forms of land use like tourism and recreation:

Grouse species are often considered to be indicator species for habitat quality. Capercaillie has also been proven to act as an umbrella species for several endangered mountain birds, which are listed in the Birds Directive. Grouse species are often characterised by a comparatively close habitat affinity, which makes them highly sensitive to habitat changes.

Because of the large home range sizes of the single individuals and the large area requirements of viable populations, a focus on grouse species assures that areas of sufficient size are taken into consideration for management concepts. And lastly, a crucial point which need to be taken into account when planning tourism projects: most grouse species are highly sensitive to disturbance.

Apart from the ecological attributes, there is an additional aspect, that may be just as important for integrative projects: Everybody knows grouse!

Grouse species are symbols of untouched nature. In the public they are often strongly associated with traditions and culture. They awaken emotions and furthermore, it is much easier to identify with a capercaillie or a rock ptarmigan than with a mushroom or an insect, even if the latter are much more endangered.

All these attributes also make grouse species an attractive medium for communicating nature protection aims to the public.

Click here [] to find an introduction to the different European grouse species

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