CONSERVATION: Blueprint for saving rare species

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A blueprint for managing forests to boost the conservation of rare and endangered birds was published yesterday by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Forestry Commission.

Already, much effort has gone into conserving several types of forest birds, such as the capercaillie, black grouse, nightjar and woodlark, and the plan is based on this and other research.

The paper focuses primarily on man-made, largely coniferous forests, where there are the most commercial opportunities for felling and replanting. Its advice is aimed at benefiting wildlife, with minimal effects on profits.

The RSPB's Scottish director, Stuart Housden, said birds which could benefit included the Scottish crossbill, found only in Highland pinewoods, the black grouse, which is suffering massive population decline, and the barn owl, hit by a shortage of nest sites.