The Shetland ParkLife project is a partnership between local agricultural and conservation organisations, led by the Shetland Livestock Marketing Group. The project took place over 10-months in 2020. A group of 10 farmers and crofters across Shetland surveyed farmland waders and their habitats throughout the spring and their efforts provided data to help in the preparation of a potential new results-based agri-environment scheme that would reward farmers for the quality of habitats they produce.
The project aimed to shift crofters’ perspective towards biodiversity and turn environmental outcomes into key products with a clear economic value, where delivery depends on crofters’ skills and knowledge. It was based upon discussions with a local group of crofters and farmers on the potential for the approach to be adopted in Shetland and also learned from experiences of locally led, results-based schemes in other countries.
Whilst most crofters were already familiar with oystercatchers and curlews (shalders and whaaps) participants reported being more aware of other waders, such as lapwings and redshanks. A key aim has been empowering the Shetland agricultural community to take a leadership role in managing our environment and achieving outcomes for the benefit of biodiversity and the wider community in Shetland.
Key project outputs have included the preparation of:
- The leaflet ‘Farmland waders in Shetland – A best practice guide for farmers and crofters’, distributed widely in the agricultural community
- A Wader Grassland scorecard
- Wader monitoring guidance for land managers
Project Introduction Video
Farmer surveys documents
- Plant Survey - Monitoring Guidelines
- Soil Survey - Monitoring Guidelines
- Wader and Habitat Surveys - Monitoring Guidelines
- Wader Habitat Survey Sheet
- Plants Recording Sheet
- Wader Recording Sheet
- Plant ID Guide
Participant interviews video
Online event videos
An online event was held on 21 November 2020. A range of speakers from Scotland, England and Ireland presented nature-friendly farming projects, including:
- ParkLife Project - Nathalie Pion
- Nature Friendly Farming Network - Phil Knott
- The Ethical Diary - David Findlay
- Results-based agri-environment payment schemes: an Irish example – Derek McLaughlin and Colm Gavin
- Payment by Results in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – Helen Keep
Recordings can be viewed in the ParkLife online event playlist.
- Developing a Results Based Scheme - The Crofter, August 2020
- New project encourages crofters to look after waders - Shetland News, April 2020
- Project aims to help wading bird populations - The Shetland Times, April 2020
- Good Evening Shetland Thursday 6th August 2020
- Online event to celebrate nature-friendly farming - The Shetland Times, November 2020
- Crofters and farmers record farmland wildlife in Shetland
- Interest renewed in wading birds - Landwise
- Parklife supported isles' wading birds - The Shetland Times, November 2020
The funding for the ParkLife project is made available through SRDP Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund, which is jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the European Union.