The North West Brown Hare project is a large partnership project covering parts of Greater Manchester, South Lancashire and North Merseyside (see project area map). The funding will enable a dedicated project officer to be appointed for two years to collate and analyse existing data, as well as training up volunteers to conduct detailed surveys across the project area. The data will be used to gain a better understanding of the population in the North West and highlight areas to target for habitat management to increase connectivity between populations and improve habitats for brown hare, as well as farmland birds. Part of the habitat management will include the planting of hedgerows and hedge trees, as well as providing advice and guidance to landowners on the best way to manage their land for brown hare.
The project will work with partner organisations to help landowners, including Local Authority and Wildlife Trust land, to adopt best practice management through agreed management plans, or uptake of Entry/Higher Level Stewardship, or joining the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, as well as holding events for landowners to promote awareness and provide advice.
It is hoped that projects such as the North West Brown Hare Project will provide the much needed data on brown hare populations at a local level and enable targeted habitat management to be implemented. It will also contribute towards the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, as well as local BAP targets to double the population of hares.
Brown hare as a biological indicator
The success of brown hare populations relies on a habitat-rich mosaic landscape and therefore brown hare can be used as an indicator species for the farmed landscape in general. Any habitat management that is done for brown hare will be on a landscape scale and therefore increase the richness of the habitat and benefit many other wildlife including farmland birds. It is perhaps no surprise that the brown hare is starting to be pushed as the symbol for a healthy functioning farmland ecosystem, as it covers a wide landscape that incorporates various important habitats that if managed appropriately for brown hare will lead to improved habitat richness for the wider landscape.
Brown Hare Recording Website http://www.brownhare.org.uk/
SITA Trust Project Web page [to be added]
PTES Project Information Sheet http://ptes.org/files/868_nw_brown_hare_project_summary.pdf
Brown Hare Article in Mammals UK magazine Spring 2010 issue
Click here to view
Local Biodiversity Action Plans
- Greater Manchester Biodiversity Action Plan - Hares
- Lancashire Biodiversity Action Plan - Brown Hare
- North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan - Brown Hare
www.merseysidebiodiversity.org.uk/v2ActionPlan.asp? ap=saps2008/Brown Hare 2008&name=Brown Hare