The successful conservation of any species is largely determined by proper management of its habitat. The red grouse is a good example of a species which has declined through a lack of suitable habitat management. In the last 50 years the uplands have lost 20-40% of heather and semi-natural scrub to commercial forestry and over-grazing, particularly by sheep. Upland moorland, especially moorland covered by heather, is a scarce habitat and considered internationally important. It supports a number of uncommon bird species including hen harrier, golden eagle, dotterel and ptarmigan, as well as red grouse.
The Game Conservancy Trust is encouraging the take-up of traditional moorland habitat management in order to restore grouse numbers to respectable levels. While there are many who dislike the practise of shooting for sport, management for red grouse aims to protect the species in a sustainable way, and preserve a habitat rich in unusual plants, mammals and birds. At the same time, there is a review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is aiming to reduce upland grazing levels in an effort to reduce pressure on red grouse habitat.