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Managing disturbance

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    On-site interpretation increases the public’s understanding of the importance of woodland for wildlife, and helps to limit disturbance by explaining the issue.

Woodland is increasingly used for organised recreation, which has the potential to cause significant disturbance. Intense disturbance over short periods in the breeding season can have a critical impact on ground-nesting birds. Repeat activities like paint-balling can be intense and frequent, and could permanently displace ground- or shrub-layer nesting species, and are inappropriate in the breeding season.

Managing operational disturbance

Reference should be made to Forests and Birds – A guide to managing forests for rare birds, which contains more detailed advice

species, however, it also has the potential to disturb both birds and habitat (Table 19). Any intrusive management operation during the nesting season has the potential to cause disturbance or destroy nests. Careful planning and scheduling of works to avoid potentially high impact operations, eg restocking and felling at key times of the year should help to minimise operational disturbance. The main period to avoid high-impact operations is the nesting season (March to August), although some species associated with commercial conifer plantations have begin breeding very early, eg crossbill and woodlark can begin nesting in February, and nightjar can still have young in late October. The safest period for large-scale operations is therefore November–January (Table 20). The key area maps presented in the species accounts in Part 3 together with data from surveys and ad hoc sightings will reveal the presence of species, and operations can then be planned accordingly.

on managing operational disturbance. T impacts of management on European Protected Species, eg bats, badgers will also need to be considered, refer to the Forestry Commission Wales website at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/ infd-769erv for further guidance.

Active woodland management is necessary to benefit a wide range of

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Accidental destruction or disturbance

If a tree containing an active nest is accidentally felled, advice must be sought immediately by contacting the area office of the Countryside Council for Wales or the RSPB (see contact details in

Activity Felling

Issue

Action to reduce impact of issue

Disturbance or destruction of nest sites and/or display sites

Survey to locate active nests prior to and during work. Plan to avoid felling during breeding season or adhere to disturbance-free zone guidance. Do not leave very small retentions around nest trees as this can attract attention from the public, including egg collectors

Thinning

Disturbance of nest sites or display sites

Survey to locate active nests prior to and during work. Plan to avoid thinning during breeding season or adhere to disturbance-free zone guidance. Avoid felling trees containing large nests at any time of year. Avoid destruction of nests during felling of nearby trees

Track creation

Disturbance of nest sites or display sites

Survey to locate active nests prior to and during work. Plan to avoid track creation during breeding season or adhere to disturbance-free zone guidance

Extraction

Disturbance of nest sites or display sites

Survey to locate active nests prior to and during work. Plan to avoid extraction during breeding season or adhere to disturbance-free zone guidance

Table 19 Forest operations and their impacts on priority woodland birds.

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