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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Plant trees to act as windbreaks Bird Conservation

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • One of two before-and-after studies, from the UK, found that the local population of European nightjars increased following several interventions including the planting of windbreaks.
  • A before-and-after study, from the USA, found that erecting a windbreak appeared to disrupt lekking behaviour in greater prairie chicken territories nearby.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A before-and-after study in shrubland in 1962-1964 in Wisconsin, USA (Anderson 1969), found that the erection of a windbreak of 4 m high pines Pinus spp. appeared to disrupt lekking behaviour in male greater prairie chickens Tympanuchus cupido, with several males vacating their territories after trees were erected nearby.



A before-and-after study at Minsmere reserve (151 ha), Suffolk, UK, in 1978-1988 (Burgess et al. 1990), found that the local population of European nightjars Caprimulgus europaeus increased following a series of management interventions, including the planting of ‘shelter belts’ to reduce wind in woodland glades. This study is discussed in detail in ‘Clear or open patches in forests’.


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.