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Integrating Farm Management Practices with Brown Hare Conservation in Pastoral Landscapes (Old BD1104) - BD1436

Brown hares (Lepus europaeus) have shown substantial population declines in both pastoral and arable landscapes throughout Britain in the last century; however, while hare populations in arable areas seem to be stabilising, their decline in pastoral areas appears to be continuing. Factors responsible for the continuing decline of hares in pastoral land are less well understood than those associated with declines in arable areas. This study will investigate the relationship between pastoral land use and hare populations with the aim of determining farm management practices that are compatible with long-term conservation of hares. The study will have the following objectives: investigation of the ecology and behaviour of brown hare populations in different pastoral landscapes, including direct and indirect measurements of fecundity, survivorship, movement, dispersal, diet and feeding behaviour; quantification of land use in 3 contrasting pastoral landscapes that show different livestock rearing intensities and encompass varying proportions of arable farming; determination of the effects of different patterns of pastoral land use on hare abundance, population dynamics and population fragmentation; development of models to quantify extinction risks for hare populations in pastoral landscapes under different patterns of land use and farming practices; prediction of future trends in hare numbers in pastoral landscapes under different farming scenarios; determination of the best way in which the needs of hares can be integrated into current farming practices, including assessment of whether specific conservation measures need to be introduced to ensure the long-term conservation of hares in pastoral landscapes; identification of priority areas for hare conservation within pastoral landscapes through use of cost-effectiveness analysis to identify optimal conservation strategies satisfying the requirements of farmers and hares; and the production of a management plan providing guidelines for long-term conservation of hares in pastoral landscapes.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Integrating farm management practices with brown hare conservation in pastural habitats   (749k)
• Final Report - Annex : Integrating farm management practices with brown hare conservation in pastural habitats   (120k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1997

To: 2002

Cost: £197,778
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Bristol
Agricultural Land              
Environmental Protection              
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship