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Country summaries: Spain

We have summarised some of our main findings from each country into separate booklets that can be downloaded here.

  • Download Spanish Research Briefings (pdf)

The primary research activity in Spain has been related to assessing costs and benefits of different management styles for red-legged partridge hunting.

In Spain, hunting is an important socioeconomic activity, with approximately one million local hunters and many foreign hunting visitors, but not exempt of conflict among other sectors of society. Hunting also currently constitutes a major income in some rural areas, and seems to be an expanding economic activity. Small game hunting, particularly of rabbits (Oryctolagus cunniculus) and red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa), is of particular relevance numerically and socio-economically. Partridges, in particular, are a highly valued game among hunters. Hunting is usually associated with habitat or population management, which may be beneficial or detrimental for non-target species. For example, red-legged partridge hunting in Spain is usually associated with predator control, provision of supplementary food or water, habitat improvements (such as provision of game crops, or maintenance of habitat features good for partridges, such as field edges or scrub), or the release of farm-reared partridges to supplement populations. Partridge populations have strongly decreased in recent decades and, as a result, management to improve their populations has increased in intensity. In particular, current management is increasingly associated with the release of farm-reared animals, which has raised concerns among conservationists and scientists.

Through different multidisciplinary approaches, we aimed to better understand the relationships between management tools, their efficacy for hunting, their effect on the environment, and their effect on economics of hunting estates with the aim of, ultimately, suggest ways of promoting sustainable management styles that are beneficial for conservation.

For updates, comments and questions please contact Beatriz Arroyo ( 

Photo: J. Linnell