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Nigel Symes (The RSPB)

Distribution: It is useful to provide deadwood where it builds on the existing deadwood resource, or where it expands or continues habitat provision where dependent species already occur. This is preferable to creating new, unconnected deadwood elsewhere in the wood. Many invertebrates have limited dispersal and will not be able to colonise new areas easily. Clusters of deadwood can be expanded by ongoing provision, so that they eventually interconnect. Many deadwood dependent invertebrates, as adults, feed on nectar, so it is important to provide deadwood close to rides or other habitats where nectar-bearing plants occur.

Species: Certain hardwoods such as large diameter oak, sweet chestnut and elm will create long-lasting deadwood, other species will degrade much quicker and will need more constant replenishment, such as birch, beech, conifers. Aim for a variety of species to provide a range of benefits.

Creating deadwood

Deadwood can be created relatively easily while other woodland operations are being Carried out, because the techniques employed are relatively simple. Target existing areas of deadwood, or where dependent species are present.

Standing deadwood

  • Create where woodland needs restructuring, or where non-native species are being removed.

Plate 13 Leaving felled deadwood in the length allows for more natural decomposition.

Managing woodland for birds

  • Kill targeted trees in situ, by ring barking or by chemical injection.

  • Leave trees that die naturally standing.

  • A proportion can be killed in situ rather than being felled. This can be done by ring barking.

  • Target some bigger trees for deadwood where available and acceptable; they provide more niches.

  • Provide deadwood of all sizes.

Fallen deadwood

  • Where possible leave fallen deadwood, eg wind blow, in situ.

  • Provide fallen deadwood by felling

    • Leave trees felled to deadwood where they land.

    • Do not shred unless it is unsafe to do so (this most closely replicates natural process). If they have to be made safe, the minimum alteration should be done, and they should be kept in lengths.

  • Provide fallen deadwood by winching

    • Natural wind blow can be replicated by winching. It is an involved process, but because the root plate is lifted, it provides important habitat; the soil on the root plate provides nesting sites for invertebrates, eg aculeate Hymenoptera, and birds. Sometimes the root system survives and the tree may regenerate, particularly in willow and alder. This will help development of scrub around the root plate and new growth developing well above the ground should be free from browsing.

Plate 14 Windblown trees are valuable features, and are best left intact where possible.


Nigel Symes (The RSPB)

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