Enjoying wildlife is one of the pleasures of managing woodland, and many species of woodland wildlife depend on tree seeds for their food supply.
Now a new Research Note from the Forestry Commission aims to help managers and planners of conifer woods to assess the seed resources in their woods and manage them in ways which maximise the quantity and continuity of seed production.
Co-author Alice Broome, from Forest Research, explained,
“Conifer seed provides an important food resource for many woodland birds and small mammals, including some of Britain’s rarest species.
“However, quantity and continuity of seed supply are not guaranteed, because cone and seed crops fluctuate annually, they vary from species to species, and seed availability is affected by climate, species and tree age.
“This Research Note explains how woodland managers can influence continuity and quantity to maximise the food resource for wildlife, and the length of the periods it is available.”
The publication explains that key among the measures which can be taken are planting a variety of species, ensuring a diverse age structure in the forest, and thinning.
Entitled ‘Understanding the provision of conifer seed for woodland species’, the Research Note was written by Alice Broome, R.W. Summers and T. Vanhala.
It is available as a PDF document for free download from the publications area of the Forestry Commission website, www.forestry.gov.uk/publications.