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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1984) 29(2): 193–200
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Research article
Improving exotic forests for native birds.

M. N. Clout

The results of a study in the Rai-Whangamoa and Golden Downs State Forests near Nelson in the South Island show that native birds which feed on fruit and nectar, and those which nest in tree holes, are adversely affected by conversion of native forest to conifer plantations. Young plantations are particularly poor habitats for most native birds, but some insectivorous species thrive in conifer stands more than 30 years old. Exotic forests could be improved as native bird habitat by (1) preserving areas of natural vegetation within plantations, (2) planting amenity areas with attractive food plants for birds, (3) retaining some old or dead trees as nest sites, (4) providing nest boxes, and (5) increasing local habitat diversity by creating a mosaic of stands of different ages and types. In larger exotic forests where very little native forest remains, some old conifer stands could be retained and managed as sanctuaries for certain native birds.
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