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increase in needle density means that ground vegetation such as grasses and rush are choked out. Birds requiring an open habitat with little field layer or bare ground will not occupy the area once ground vegetation becomes rank. Aim for a continuity of clearfells or open space. See Table 17 Extent of clearfells and priority species.

Scrub patches can be encouraged along the glade edge, and elsewhere if the clearing is big enough. A thinned woodland edge at least in parts, will encourage the scrub edge to develop into the woodland edge. Scrub will in many circumstances need periodic management to prevent encroachment onto open areas. Alternatively, where a clearing has been created and stump regeneration prevented, it can be left to gradually revert to woodland again. Meanwhile, another glade can be created to maintain the overall area.

Management recommendations

  • Create clearings of varying size (from 4–5 trees to several hectares).

  • Scallop edges to increase foliage area and thus greater invertebrate biomass.

  • Encourage development of scrub along glade edge.

  • Thin woodland edge to encourage development of scrub edge into the woodland.

  • Allow natural reversion to woodland following clearing and prevention of stump regeneration.

  • Manage open ground by periodic mowing or grazing to benefit ground- foraging birds.

  • Retain song posts for species that require them, eg turtle dove, tree pipit.

Further reading

Carter C I (2000) Managing rides, roadsides and edge habitats in lowland forests. Forestry Commission Bulletin 123. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Warren M and Fuller R (1990) Woodland rides and glades: their management for wildlife. NCC, Peterborough.

Managing woodland for birds

Dead and dying wood

Standing and fallen dead and dying wood are vital components of the woodland ecosystem providing both nest site and foraging resources for a wide range of bird species (Table 15). In many woodlands there are less than optimum quantities of dead and dying wood or a limited range of types; increasing the abundance and variety of deadwood can be important.

Deadwood can be created in a number of ways during woodland management operations, so is a low-cost management option, which will in time develop deadwood volume throughout the wood. Live trees, especially those with no other value or that are non-native, can be quickly converted to deadwood by ring barking or herbicide injection. Brash, off- cuts and windblown branches and trees are best left on the forest floor (provided this doesn’t conflict with other management objectives, eg field layer regeneration for black grouse), and trees damaged by storms, etc can be left so that internal rotting can occur. Snags can be created during thinning operations, but health and safety considerations must be taken into account.

The proportion of deadwood that is acceptable will depend on the objectives for the woodland, the existing management and any potential for it to be changed, and on whether increasing deadwood could conflict with other conservation objectives, for example in reducing the stand density of coppice.

Species Woodcock

Foraging

Nesting

Lesser spotted woodpecker

Wood warbler Spotted flycatcher Pied flycatcher Willow tit Marsh tit

Table 15 Some woodland birds benefiting directly or indirectly from deadwood.

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