Effects of upland afforestation on some birds of the adjacent moorlands.
Bird numbers were estimated on areas adjacent to conifer plantations at 62 sites, each of 640 ha, in three areas of northern Scotland. The results varied between study areas, but some bird species and some vegetation types differed in abundance with distance from the forest edge in some study areas. When the effects of vegetation differences were statistically removed, there were no major effects of forest proximity on the numbers of curlew, red grouse, dunlin and golden plover (the four most numerous species). Differences in vegetation at different distances from plantations, and adjacent to plantations of different ages, might be caused by the growth of trees or changes in management next to afforested land. However, map-derived habitat measures, which cannot have been affected by either tree-planting or management, also differed with plantation age and proximity. The results suggest that there are no edge effects, either positive or negative, of conservation importance for birds around forestry plantations in northern Scotland.