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Woodland management for birds: Birds and woodlands in Wales

value has been typically low, although Coed Cymru has recently sought to stimulate management and markets for the produce of such woods with some success. Farmers have valued such woodland as grazing and shelter for livestock, or for their own amenity or sporting use. Their potential value as an ecological, cultural and aesthetic resource in the Welsh countryside is enormous (FC 2008).

UK BAP broadleaved woodland types in Wales

Upland oak wood Upland4 oak wood occurs on base-poor to acidic soils under conditions of high rainfall (>1,000 mm per year), and is the most common native woodland type in Wales. Wales contains 40% of the UK upland oak wood resource (39,000 ha), and therefore has a substantial contribution to make to delivery of the UKBAP targets for this habitat.

in some stands may be the dominant or sole tree species present. Occasionally the canopy includes ash, rowan, alder, beech, sycamore and lime. The understorey, where present, usually consists of small trees and shrubs of hazel, rowan and holly, and occasionally crab apple, aspen and yew. Some of the most notable components of upland oak woods are ferns, mosses, liverworts and lichens, many of which are of international importance. The flowering plant component depends on soil fertility, drainage conditions and grazing intensity. Bluebells, bramble and bracken may be common on rich soils, with heather and bilberry on poorer soils. Prolonged grazing encourages swards of grasses.

Priority bird species of upland oak woods are redstart, pied flycatcher, wood warbler and tree pipit. These species favour open woodland, with a sparse field and shrub layer, eg where grazed.

Sessile oak is the commonest tree species, although pedunculate and oak hybrids may replace it. Birch is also common, and

Upland mixed ash wood Upland mixed ash woods occur on neutral to base-rich soils under conditions of high

4 The word ‘upland’ is used in a UK context, to differentiate between ‘lowland’ south and eastern Britain and ‘upland’ north and western Britain, and therefore is not necessarily defined by altitude.

Area (ha) of habitat per 1 km2

>25 5–25 <5

Figure 3 Distribution of 1-km squares with semi- natural broadleaved woodland within Welsh LBAP areas (CCW 2003).

Figure 4 Distribution of records for upland oak wood summarised from Phase II Surveys of Welsh woodlands (CCW 2003).


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