Published: 00:00, 29 May 2003
| Updated: 08:09, 29 May 2003
A STUDY by the University of Kent at Canterbury suggests landowners who allow fox hunting and game-bird shooting are more likely to conserve natural habitats.
The study was carried out by the University's Durrel Institute of Conservation and Ecology and published in the international journal, Nature.
Landowners involved in hunting and shooting conserved an average of 7.2 per cent of their farms as woodland whereas others only conserved 0.6 per cent.
The report also showed that all landowners involved in hunting and shooting planted new woodland and hedgerows compared to only 37.5 per cent of the rest.
Commenting on the report, Professor Thomasina Oldfield said; "The study suggests landowners may conserve important habitats if they are involved in hunting and shooting. Our study implies that the role of landowners in voluntary habitat conservation should also be considered in debates over field sports."