Influences of restock age and habitat patchiness on Tree Pipits Anthus trivialis breeding in Breckland pine plantations

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) Science Article 1


The British Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis population has shown a marked decline in recent decades, together with a range contraction that has been most apparent in central and southeast England. In East Anglia, the species is now largely restricted to heathland and, in particular, the conifer plantations established on light soils in these areas. Here I evaluate how Tree Pipits are influenced by the age of pine restock and the patchiness of habitat in Thetford Forest in the Breckland area of Norfolk and Suffolk, eastern England. Both the probability of occurrence and the densities of territory-holding Tree Pipits varied according to the age of coupes of restock – densities peaking in restock 1-6 years old – and were also significantly higher in coupes (a stand comprising one or more forest subcompartments planted in the same year, usually with the same tree crop) in the largest, most central forest block than in smaller, isolated blocks peripheral to this. Within coupes, the distribution and thus densities of Tree Pipits were limited by the availability of songposts.

NIALL H.K. BURTON, Ibis 149 (s2), 193-204

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