Dr. G. R. Potts (1939-2017), better known as Dick Potts, died last march 30 to 78 of age. Dick, who worked for the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, devoted his research career to the study and conservation of birds, mainly grey partridge, but also others such as the grouse or ptarmigan, scottish, woodcock, red-legged partridge and birds passerines, without forgetting other species of agricultural landscapes such as the european hare and the insects, fundamental to the pellets.
Dick enunciated his Theory of the three legs of the stool for the conservation of the marbled, game species icon in the Uk: coverage for the nest, control of predators and the provision of insects for the pellets. If one of the three ‘legs’ fails, the population of partridges collapses. For history are his studies on the indirect effect of pesticides on the duck, a problem that continues to plague our fields due to the lack of insects.
The investigation led by Dick was aimed at reconciling agriculture with the conservation of the fauna, and a good part of the agri-environmental measures of the CAP british come from research done first to benefit species such as the marbled. Dick was the champion of the conservation of the grey partridge and other species of agricultural, publishing numerous scientific literature condensed in two historical books on partridges, one published in 1986 and another in 2012.
During the eighties and nineties took on several positions of importance, being the Research director and finally director general of the Game for nine years, retiring in 2002. Under his direction, the Game went from employing a handful of researchers to a total of sixty. For almost fifty years he led the project of Sussex, through which it has thoroughly studied the agricultural ecosystem as a whole.
His death last march 30 orphans to several generations of researchers who have been inspired by your work and enthusiasm. We will not forget his dedication to scientifically prove that it is possible that the field is compatible with the maintenance of species such as the grey partridge. And neither does your passion during the days in the field, especially when we had partridges.
By Carlos Sánchez García-Abad
Photo © GWCT