Evaluation of conservation approaches for specialist woodland invertebrates
Brouwers, N.C., Bailey, S. and Watts, K. (2011) Evaluation of conservation approaches for specialist woodland invertebrates. Forestry Commission.
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In recent years, attention in woodland conservation has increasingly focused on developing Forest Habitat Networks (FHN). This strategy aims to target new woodland development towards linking existing woodland fragments together. The principal behind this concept is the understanding that increasing connectivity between habitat fragments will benefit dispersal and the survival of species within the landscape. Although the value of creating networks by linking woodland fragments has a strong theoretical basis, little empirical evidence is available to support the application of these theories in practice. In particular, our understanding of population dynamics of many woodland taxa is severely limited and related mechanisms (e.g. dispersal ability) are poorly understood. To address these issues, research was undertaken on a woodland invertebrate, the wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris) on the Isle of Wight, UK. This species represents the group of flightless ground-dwelling invertebrates that are strongly associated with broadleaf woodland habitat. The results of this investigation indicate that the overall success of woodland conservation for woodland invertebrates lies in adopting a multi-scale and multi-management strategic approach. Furthermore, species specific modelling approaches used in conservation planning are useful only if a high level of detailed species and landscape information is available. The current initiatives focussing on restoration and re-instatement of traditional management activities creating more open habitat within woodlands were found to be highly beneficial for wood cricket and other woodland species. Corridor features were found to facilitate movement if suitable woodland habitat conditions were provided. Creation of habitat corridors and networks might therefore be beneficial for woodland invertebrates if new plantings are given enough time to develop.
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