UK Lead Organisation:
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
County Lead Organisation:
West Midland Bird Club
- In the short term, to halt the decline in breeding numbers on lowland farmland and other habitats where found to be declining.
- In the medium term, to enhance the breeding population of skylark in all habitats in which the species occurs.
- Seek to consider the requirements of the skylark when establishing and reviewing agri-environment schemes. (DEFRA)
- Lobby for increased funding to support organic and mixed farm systems. (Nature Conservation Organisations)
Lobby for changes in agri-environment schemes for the retention of stubble fields for as long as possible over winter, to provide a source of seeds. (Nature Conservation Organisations)
Ensure any examples of sites containing populations of this species and that meet the required criteria are given SBI status. (SBI Grading Committee)
Seek to incorporate beneficial farmland bird management practices into Staffordshire County Council farms estate tenancy agreements. (County Farm Estates)
Lobby for development of a pilot Dairy Stewardship Scheme, to deliver benefits for this species and other farmland wildlife into intensive dairy areas. (Nature Conservation Organisations)
- The skylark is protected under the EC Birds Directive and the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
- Skylark has been listed as a costed, key species in the UK Steering Group Report.
Management, Monitoring, Research and Survey
- The DEFRA Countryside Stewardship Scheme provides grant aid to farmers to encourage environmentally sensitive management and from 2002, this scheme will include new arable options which will benefit this species. A range of options under this scheme has the potential to provide nest sites and increase food supplies for skylarks. DEFRA and FWAG actively promote this scheme throughout the county.
- Encourage sympathetic management of rotational set aside, with regard to reducing the harmful effects of cutting and wide-spectrum pesticide use. (RSPB)
- Promote an increase in both the diversity of arable crops sown and the area under spring cereals, especially barley. (RSPB, NFU)
Encourage the establishment of grass margins, beetle banks and ley grassland as both nesting sites and insect rich feeding areas. (GCT, RSPB)
Seek to target the use of the new arable options within the Countryside Stewardship Scheme to benefit skylark. (DEFRA, FWAG, RSPB)
Promote full use of the new multi-annual set aside option to deliver 5 year management plans to benefit farmland birds including skylark. (RSPB, DEFRA, FWAG)
Seek to encourage a more targeted and cautious use of pesticides on farmland, as opposed to prophylactic treatment of crops. (DEFRA)
Encourage the establishment demonstration farms to highlight beneficial management practices for skylark. (RSPB, SWT)
Promote volunteer participation in national monitoring schemes currently operating in the county i.e. Breeding Bird Survey. (BTO, WMBC, RSPB)