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Figure 17 Wind penetration can lower humidity within the wood, but encouraging woodland edge scrub may deflect wind.

Woodland management for birds: Birds and woodlands in Wales


  • limit development on important open habitats

  • permit succession to high forest where appropriate or clear areas periodically to restart succession

  • increase fallen and standing deadwood where appropriate

  • manage grazing and browsing

  • provide nestboxes where needed.

Wet woodland

designed to provide invertebrate and seed- rich habitats, eg wildlife cover crops. Agri- environment options are also available for providing scrub.

Wet woodland is very important for birds, but a large proportion of wet woodland is declining in condition because it does not lie within a properly functioning hydrological system. Formerly wet woodland occurring in flood plains would have received regular inundation during winter flood events; keeping soils wet and preventing succession to drier woodland communities. It would have maintained a high proportion of deadwood, as waterlogged conditions periodically killed weaker trees, and several willows and poplars are prone to losing boughs.

Secondary woodland

Woodland succession should be prevented or reversed where the open ground it is replacing is valuable for nature conservation, archaeology, or for other reasons. However, where succession occurs on a robust or extensive habitat ie one with the capacity to recover, it can be managed so that the open ground interest is not compromised, and the ecological benefits of early successional woodland are not lost, eg by periodic clearance to set back succession. This would benefit species like lesser redpoll and grasshopper warbler by retaining scrub and rank vegetation.

Management issues

Issue: halting succession

Secondary woodland is an important habitat for species such as grasshopper warbler. Succession reduces the availability of suitable nesting and foraging opportunities for these species.

It is difficult to reinstate active flood plain conditions without agreement from other landowners and the Environment Agency, but where management control can be gained over whole hydrological units within a flood plain, winter flooding can, and should where possible, be reinstated. It is very likely to benefit other wetland features, like reedbeds and wet grassland as well as wet woodland. Deep flooding is not likely to have been prolonged under uncontrolled conditions, and should not occur under managed conditions either, but a general raising of winter water table levels too close to the soil surface is desirable, with shallow flood events that are not drained off quickly following heavy rain. Wet woodland colonising land with low biodiversity or other value will cause little conflict, and will have significant value for wildlife. Significant areas of former quarries and mining spoils have been colonised by willow and birch scrub, to the advantage of willow tits.

There are many opportunities to re-wet areas of woodland where drainage exists


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