Grouse

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Grouse Subgroup of GSG and The Grouse Group

The Grouse Specialist Group was one of the original 5 Galliformes Specialist Groups.  Since the merger of the 5 Specialist Groups it has always has continued to have a very active membership, but also an active ad hoc membership which is autonomous.  The GG as part of the GSG, is a network of >100 scientists and conservationists specialized in grouse. The Grouse Group is particularly concerned with the conservation of threatened grouse species, subspecies, and populations in seeking ways to maintain viable populations in their natural habitats. The GG is committed to understanding and securing viable populations of all species and subspecies of grouse in their natural habitats.  Major activities of the Grouse Group include the biannual newsletter Grouse News, this grouse website, and the series of International Grouse Symposia.  Michael Schroeder is representing the Grouse Group in the GSG. The work of the Grouse Group is supported by a core committee.

Background and Objectives of the GG

Grouse have long attracted and fascinated people. Their display behaviour, and particularly the communal mating grounds, or "leks", of the capercaillie, the black grouse, and the prairie grouse, have inspired poetry and folklore in Eurasia as well as North America. Perhaps even more importantly, grouse hunting has played a major role in the subsistence, economy, and culture of local communities. Grouse also show many features interesting to scientists. In fact, grouse are among the best-studied bird taxa worldwide.  Grouse mating systems have been studied to develop theories of sexual selection and evolution. Grouse population cycles remain a major puzzle for population ecologists. Grouse were part of the first studiesof habitat fragmentation and landscape ecology. Those studies have opened our eyes to the great influences the wider surroundings can have on the habitat and dynamics of grouse and other wildlife species.  Today, three of the 18 species of grouse are considered threatened with extinction, three are considered near-threathened, and one is data-deficient (IUCN 2004). Most species of grouse have lost parts of their ranges, show negative trends, and many local populations have gone extinct. The major threat to grouse is in man-made changes of the habitat. Grouse play an important role for conservation: as typical representatives of a wide spectrum of natural habitats, grouse are indicators of ecosystem health. Their indicator function and their attractiveness to people make grouse excellent flagship species to promote conservation. In that sense, grouse conservation is conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity in general.

 Links to Action Plans and Newsletters are included on the Conservation and Newsletter buttons.

The Grouse Group maintains its own Newsletter.  Contact Editor Tor Spidsø at tks.grouse@gmail.com  .

The Group Group Coordinator and Core Committee member is Michael Schroeder Michael.Schroeder@dfw.wa.gov