Green light for research into forest management effects on woodland birds

Defra funding secured to investigate the effects of changes in woodland structure on bird populations

News from Forest Research: March 2011

Willow Warbler Spotted flycatcher at nest with young

Forest Research, The University of Nottingham and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, are in a consortium led by the British Trust for Ornithology, which has successfully secured Defra funding to investigate the effects of changes in woodland structure on bird populations.

The main question that this work will address is whether habitat quality for woodland birds can be improved, and thus bird populations increased, through adopting particular silvicultural practices, management treatments, and/or by reducing deer browsing pressure.

Our researchers have several key tasks during this four-year study:

  • The first is to identify field study sites in managed lowland broadleaved and upland conifer woodlands that are at different stand development stages.
  • The second is to provide expertise on deer impacts, assess deer browsing and densities and carry out intensive monitoring of woodland structure.
  • Thirdly, our scientists will interpret how the relationships between birds, deer, woodland structure and woodland management could be affected by future forestry policy and practice, and how management to benefit woodland birds would affect wider woodland biodiversity.

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This and other news stories can be found in the Spring 2011 issue of FR News, our online newsletter.