New guidance on managing woodlands to protect birds

Bookmark and Share Nod tudalen & Rhannu

This news story is now over a year old and information may no longer be accurate or up-to-date. It might also contain obsolete links.
Please use our search link on the left to look for more recent information.

A new guide to help managers improve woodlands for birds has been published jointly by Forestry Commission Wales and the RSPB, with the support of the Countryside Council for Wales.

Woodland management for birds: a guide to managing woodland for priority birds in Wales incorporates the latest information about how aspects of woodland management affect birds and other wildlife.

The guide deals, in particular, with management issues relating to the woodland bird species that are considered priorities for conservation in Wales, for example, the wood warbler, pied flycatcher and black grouse.

Aimed at woodland managers, the full-colour guide gives information relating to the methods of managing broadleaved, mixed or coniferous woodland to improve habitats for birds.

Examples of beneficial management highlighted in the guide include thinning trees to let in more light and encourage lower-level vegetation to flourish; not removing deadwood; and reinstating open spaces within the forest. These actions help to produce a more varied vegetation structure, increasing the number of insects on which birds feed and creating more nest sites.

The guide also signposts sources of information about other aspects of woodland management, such as woodland grant requirements and Forestry Commission guidance. Guidance on legal aspects relating to protected species likely to be influenced by woodland management is also included.

Wild bird populations are considered to be a good indicator of the health of the wider environment. The Wild Bird Indicator is used by the Welsh Assembly Government as a measure of the health of the Welsh environment.

This indicator shows woodland bird populations fluctuating over the last three years with increases of some species balanced by the declines of others.

Chris Tucker, Biodiversity Policy Manager at Forestry Commission Wales, said, "The guide is a useful tool to help woodland managers include the requirements of birds species within their own woodland management objectives such as timber production.

"The woodland management techniques will not only benefit birds but also the many other animals and plants that make Welsh woodlands such a diverse resource."

Dave Lamacraft, one of the co-authors of the guide from RSPB Cymru, said, "There are many factors contributing to the decline in woodland bird species and research indicates that changes in woodland management are a significant factor affecting many.

"Initiatives to encourage active woodland management that improve habitats can make an important contribution to helping to increase populations."

Contact Jane Holloway in FC Wales at or telephone her on 0300 068 0075 to obtain a copy of the guide which costs £14.95 plus £3 p&p, or download it free via the link on the Forestry Commission website at

Notes to Editors

Photographs of the wood warbler, pied flycatcher and black grouse are available to download free of charge from the RSPB Images website. Please click on the hyperlink and enter the username and password when prompted to access the images: Username: RSPB, Password: JAN2010

Woodland management for birds: a guide to managing woodland for priority birds in Wales was published by Forestry Commission Wales and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds with the support of the Countryside Council for Wales. It was written by John Dyda, Nigel Symes and Dave Lamacraft.  The guide deals with woodland bird species that are considered priorities for conservation in Wales and the management issues that relate to them. It includes those woodland birds identified in the list of Principal Biodiversity Species in Wales under Section 42 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006, and other species of conservation importance, eg rare breeding species.

Forestry Commission Wales is the government department responsible for forestry policy and looks after the 126,000 hectares (311,000 acres) of public forests owned by the Welsh Assembly Government. More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on Press office contact: Mary Galliers,

The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing – help us keep it that way. Press office contact: Dana Thomas,