Effects of plantation structure and management on birds.

Author Fuller, R.A. & Browne, S.J.
Citation Fuller, R.A. & Browne, S.J. (2003). Effects of plantation structure and management on birds. In: Humphrey, J., Ferris, R. & Quine, C. (eds) Biodiversity in Britain's Planted Forests: Results from the Forestry Commission's Biodiversity Assessment Project: 93-99. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.


Breeding birds were counted in all the biodiversity assessment plots excluding oak. A point count method was used which showed that, even within stands of broadly similar age, there is much variation in the overall density, number of species, diversity and composition of the bird communities. There was considerable overlap in community composition between mid-rotation, mature and over-mature stands. However, bird communities in pre-thicket stands (6-26 years), especially in upland areas, were generally distinct from those in older growth stages. This suggests that young stands make a very important contribution to bird diversity within forests. Factors influencing variation in forest bird communities are reviewed and approaches to enhancing and maintaining habitat quality for birds are outlined. Several major gaps in knowledge are identified. Improved information on the bird communities within individual forests is needed so that conservation management plans can be better targeted. There is substantial variation in the bird communities in young plantations but the causes are largely unknown. If effects of forest design on birds are to be satisfactorily predicted, a better understanding is required of responses of birds to forest edges.

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