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General woodland structure – canopy, shrub and field layers

Canopy layer

Issue: a closed canopy. Note, this may be desirable in some situations.

Management

  • Thin, ie selective removal of individual trees. This will create gaps that provide opportunities for replacement trees, and encourage crown development and understorey regeneration or development.

  • Group fell, ie create gaps in the canopy (usually greater than 1.5 tree lengths). This creates dappled shade conditions, keeps significant levels of humidity and provides conditions for deadwood decomposition, whilst allowing sunlight to penetrate and increase temperatures within woodland.

  • Where open conditions are maintained by grazing, protect existing shrubs and saplings by encouraging unpalatable thorny species as a shield or by using tree tubes (around existing saplings or planted ones of local provenance).

  • Control grey squirrels where they are damaging trees and saplings.

Shrub layer

Issue: a reduced shrub layer. Note, this may be desirable in some situations.

Management

  • Thin and/or create canopy gaps to reduce shading; this encourages new shrubs and removes stress from shaded shrubs.

  • Establishing coppice management to provide dense shrub layer niches at various growth stages within homogenous coupes.

  • Ensuring important areas of the shrub layer are identified and considered when planning timber extraction routes and tree-felling activities.

  • Establish an appropriate grazing regime.

  • Control browsing.

  • Underplanting of desired species may be necessary.

  • Scarification of the ground can be used as a method of encouraging regrowth in certain circumstances.

Managing woodland for birds

Species

dense

Black grouse

Woodcock

Turtle dove

Nightjar

Woodlark

Tree pipit

Garden warbler

Willow warbler

Wood warbler

Firecrest

Spotted flycatcher

Pied flycatcher

Willow tit

Marsh tit

Lesser redpoll

Bullfinch

Hawfinch

Field layer

Issue: a low complexity, or lack, of field layer. Note, this may be desirable in some situations.

Management

  • Thin and/or create canopy and shrub

layer gaps to reduce shading.

Table 10 Shrub layer features and priority woodland birds.

Shrub layer sparse

none

Table 11 Field layer features and priority woodland birds.

Field layer

Bare

dense

sparse/low

ground

Species

Black grouse Woodcock Turtle dove Nightjar Woodlark Tree pipit Garden warbler Willow warbler Wood warbler Firecrest Pied flycatcher Lesser redpoll Hawfinch

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