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Forestry Statistics 2014 - Environment

Populations of wild birds

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Indices of wild bird populations in the UK are produced annually by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in conjunction with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), and cover a range of species that are native to the UK.

The index for woodland birds was expanded in 2007 to cover 38 species, of which 12 are generalists and 26 are woodland specialists (those that breed or feed mainly or solely in woodland).

Since the early 1990s, the UK woodland bird index has generally been about 20 per cent below the level of the early 1970s, with the decline predominantly in woodland specialist species (Table 5.1, Figure 5.1).

Causes for the decline in woodland birds may include a lack of diversity in habitats and food sources, loss of habitats and food sources through damage caused by increasing deer populations, and a reduction in some migratory species following pressures in other parts of the world. 

Table 5.1 UK populations of wild birds

Year

Total breeding birds

Farmland birds

 Seabirds

Woodland birds

Woodland generalists

Woodland specialists

index (year 2000 = 100)

2003

98.3 99.1 98.0 97.9 97.8 97.8

2004

97.2 98.1 92.2 94.4 95.8 93.5

2005

99.1 96.9 94.9 99.4 102.4 97.8

2006

99.8 96.0 96.6 94.8 97.0 93.7

2007

98.1 89.8 95.2 97.8 104.8 94.5

2008

99.8 91.8 90.0 100.2 104.5 98.3

2009

94.7 89.2 93.2 88.2 97.4 84.1

2010 

97.5 86.5 93.7 99.3 101.4 98.1

2011

95.5 86.1 87.9 101.3 98.7 102.4

2012

95.4 86.6 85.7 101.6 101.8 101.3

Source: British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Notes:

1. Based on data in Wild Bird Populations in the UK statistical release (Defra, October 2013).

Figure 5.1 UK populations of woodland birds 

Figure 5.1 UK populations of woodland birds

Source: British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Notes:

1. Based on data in Wild Bird Populations in the UK statistical release (Defra, October 2013).

 

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