A methodology for assessing gamebird use of short rotation coppice.
Gamebirds provide a considerable incentive to plant and manage new woodlands. The supplementary income thus generated can improve their overall value. Other studies suggest that Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) crops may provide an attractive habitat for some gamebird species and could increase the value of the crop. To investigate this, the use by pheasants and partridge of different types of SRC at one site was assessed.
A method using sand quadrats to record gamebird footprints and hence relative use was developed. Pheasant footprints were recorded more frequently in the quadrats alongside the willow coppice, whereas partridge footprints occurred more frequently alongside the poplar coppice. Footprint analysis offers a reliable method of investigating how gamebirds use different types of SRC within small areas. The results are considered in terms of the placement of short rotation coppice plantations in the landscape to improve their ecological design.