European Union (EU) law stipulates that governments must conserve listed
species of conservation concern, necessitating the legal designation of
Special Protection Areas (SPA) and the design and implementation of
appropriate land management and other targeted conservation policies. Such
policies should be underpinned by robust scientific understanding of
population ecology, but this is rarely achieved for populations of
immediate conservation concern.
A University of Aberdeen study of Scotland's remaining red-billed chough
bird population provided the scientific understanding and evidence
required to designate a new SPA, introduce new components to the Scottish
government's agri-environment policy and underpin emergency management
The research thereby impacted statutory land designation and
agricultural policy, and hence the management and conservation of a
figurehead natural population in Scotland.