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Nigel Symes (The RSPB)

Woodland management for birds: Birds and woodlands in Wales

In the past deadwood was sometimes regarded as a source of tree diseases and as an obstruction to efficient woodland management, therefore it was often removed from the woodland as part of silvicultural ‘cleaning’. However, this is not usually the case now, eg UKWAS has requirements to retain and create deadwood.

Planning for deadwood

wood. Felled wood that is left in the length will rot slowly and thereby provide niches for longer than if it is cut up.

Quantity: There is no right or wrong amount of deadwood provision in a forest or woodland, other than where there is too little to be of conservation value, or so much that it compromises other management objectives.

In a fully functioning natural forest, deadwood will perhaps account for between one-third and half of the total timber volume. This is very much higher than in commercially managed forests, or in most woodland managed for conservation objectives. Such a high proportion is unlikely to be acceptable in commercial woods, nor in the short term, in conservation woods, as the proportion of dead and dying wood needs to be balanced with other objectives, eg timber production, or public access and amenity.

In planning deadwood provision, the following factors need to be determined:

Size: All sizes of wood from small twigs to large whole trees are of value, and should be provided to create the most niches for invertebrates. Larger intact logs probably offer the most benefit, but are often the most difficult to provide in a commercial

Plate 12 Old trees should be left, where safe, to rot in situ.

Plate 11 Sycamore controlled by ring barking will leave valuable standing deadwood.

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Nigel Symes (The RSPB)

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