The multi-billion dollar hunting industry in the UK and USA relies almost entirely on a single species of introduced pheasant called the common pheasant or the ring-necked pheasant. This species was introduced from Asia, in the UK in the 11th century, and in the USA in 19th century, although some records state that the first pheasants were introduced in 1733 in New York and New Jersey.
Pheasant hunting is a popular sport and provides billions of dollars worth of revenue for governments, farm ownners, hunting clubs and the tourism industry. Hunting reserves and farm set- aside for pheasant hunts also provide protection to the native wild flora and fauna.
Captive pheasants numbering in millions are reared in pheasant farms, and released into hunting reserves during the hunting season. Hunting permits allow the shooting of about 15-16 pheasants per person per season.
Photo of the common pheasant by Dori, 2008 on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Pheasant
Some images of pheasant hunts :
The importance of farm set-aside land for game birds and other biodiversity:
-Stoate, C. Multifunctional use of a natural resource on farmland: wild pheasant Phasianus colchicus management and the conservation of farmland passerines. Biodiversity & Conservation 11, 561-573(13) (2002).
-Warner, R.E., Mankin, P.C., David, L.M. & Etter, S.L. Declining survival of ring-necked pheasant chicks in Illinois during the late 1900s. Journal of Wildlife Management 63, 705-710 (1999).
-Aebischer, N.J. & Ewald, J.A. Grey Partridge Perdix perdix in the UK: recovery status, set-aside and shooting. Ibis 152, 530-542 (2010).
-Bracken, F. & Bolger, T. Effects of set-aside management on birds breeding in lowland Ireland. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 117, 178-184 (2006).
-Richardson, J.W., Gerloff, D.C., Harris, B.L. & Dollar, L.L. The economic impacts of conservation provisions in the 1985 Food Security Act on a representative Dawson County, Texas farm. AFPC Policy Research Report 89-1 ST - The economic impacts of conservation pr (1989).
-Van Buskirk, J. & Willi, Y. Enhancement of Farmland Biodiversity within Set-Aside Land. Conservation Biology 18, 987-994 (2004).
-Richardson, J.W., Gerloff, D.C., Harris, B.L. & Dollar, L.L. Economic impacts of conservation compliance on a representative Dawson county, Texas, farm. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 44, 527-531 ST - Economic impacts of conservation com (1989).
-Levin, G. & Jepsen, M.R. Abolition of set-aside schemes, associated impacts on habitat structure and modelling of potential effects of cross-farm regulation. Ecological Modelling 221, 2728-2737 (2010).
-Robinson, P. Pheasant shooting in Britain.The sport and the industri in the 21st century. Report from Animal Aid 1-28 (2005).
-Henderson, I.G., Cooper, J., Fuller, R.J. & Vickery, J. The relative abundance of birds on set-aside and neighbouring fields in summer. Journal of Applied Ecology 37, 335-347 (2000).
-Durie, A.J. Game Shooting: An Elite Sport c.1870-1980. Sport in History 28, 431-449 (2008).
-Firbank, L.G., Telfer, M.G., Eversham, B.C. & Arnold, H.R. The use of species-decline statistics to help target conservation policy for set-aside arable land. Journal of Environmental Management 42, 415-422 (1994).
-Kovács-Hostyánszki, A. & Báldi, A. Set-aside fields in agri-environment schemes can replace the market-driven abolishment of fallows. Biological Conservation 152, 196-203 (2012).
-Corbet, S.A.D.A.M.A.Y. INSECTS, PLANTS AND SUCCESSION - ADVANTAGES OF LONG-TERM SET-ASIDE. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 53, 201-217 (1995).
-Warner, R.E., Etter, S.L., David, L.M. & Mankin, P.C. Annual set-aside programs: a long-term perspective of habitat quality in Illinois and the Midwest. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28, 347-354 (2000).
-Vickery, J., Carter, N. & Fuller, R.J. The potential value of managed cereal field margins as foraging habitats for farmland birds in the UK. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 89, 41-52 (2002).
-Draycott, R.A.H., Hoodless, A.N. & Sage, R.B. Effects of pheasant management on vegetation and birds in lowland woodlands. Journal of Applied Ecology 45, 334-341 (2007).