Scottish government funding's wildlife benefit assessed
The impact of a fund that encourages landowners to operate in ways that protects and enhances Scotland's natural heritage is to be assessed.
The Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) has paid out more than £173m since it started in 2008.
A three-year research project will explore how effective the fund has been in helping to conserve habitats.
The Scottish government study of its fund is in line with EC requirements that its success be monitored.
At least 40% of farmland and forestry is managed in ways to aid biodiversity, according to Scottish Natural Heritage.
The Scottish government has commissioned two contractors to assist in the study of the SRDP.