The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is proud to be at the forefront of conservation research. Key to our belief is that our findings can be put into practice in a real-life, working countryside wherever possible.
What do you do?
In addition to research, giving practical advice has always been keen to our work. We were founded in the 1930s to understand declines in grey partridges and, having spoken to those people managing land up and down the country, we set up our own demonstration shoot and started providing advice.
That’s something we have done ever since. If we want our countryside to thrive – for wildlife, to preserve the wonderful, often rare, landscape, and produce the food our growing nation requires – those managing the land need to have the knowledge and the tools to make it work.
How does the GWCT help?
We aim to provide answers to difficult questions, rather than just further problems.
- When the use of fox snares came under scrutiny, we designed a brand-new ‘breakaway’ snare from scratch. Extensive field trials were undertaken and it became the only commercial snare to meet Defra’s code of practice. It is now used throughout the country.
- When our research showed that running a managed pheasant shoot increased songbird numbers, some people questioned whether we could prove that they were linked. After a decade of monitoring at our Allerton Project farm, we took the bold step of stopping all control of predators for the next nine years. Songbird numbers fell and have only recovered since a gamekeeper was reinstated.
- In 2001, it was predicted that the water vole could be lost in most of Britain without a significant increase of the control of mink. We soon devised and tested the mink raft, an inexpensive simple-to-use trapping system which is now used in many conservation projects across Britain, Europe and even in South America. We offer workshops in how to use it and provide free guidance on construction and use of the rafts to all.
These are just a few examples. You may not notice it, but GWCT research is everywhere. Walk or drive through the British countryside and you will see conservation headlands, beetle banks, feeders for farmland birds. These were not only developed by the GWCT, but our research proves that they can work and, because of that, farmers are paid to use them. Pass a field of crops grown to give seed to wild birds in the winter and those crops were planted because our research showed that they give birds the food they need, when they need it.
Do you just work with experts?
No, we know that it’s important to keep the public informed and engaged. For our guidance to have a real impact, it must be supported and widely understood. For this reason, we work closely with policymakers to present them with sound, robust science that helps to inform progressive and effective policies. We also try to make our research as accessible as possible, through courses, face-to-face advisory visits, conferences and clear, understandable summaries of published research available for free online. In publications such as The Knowledge, we transform decades of research from the GWCT and other organisations into a format that can be easily digested and improves wider understanding of the real issues facing Britain’s countryside.
- Write: GWCT, Burgate Manor, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 1EF
- Call: 01425 652381
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org