In Britain, reedbeds are one of the most important habitats for birds; a number of extremely rare birds are entirely dependent on the habitat, including the bittern (Botaurus stellaris
), the marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus
) and the bearded tit (Panurus biarmicus
). Unfortunately the total area of reedbeds is small, water abstraction, resulting in a lowering of the water table, as well as conversion to agricultural land have further reduced the area of reedbeds (6). Unsuitable management or neglect can result in a reedbed drying out; if the reeds are not cut regularly, the habitat will be invaded by willow scrub and will eventually become a wet woodland (5). Pollution of freshwater inputs into reedbeds can lead to the death of reeds, and siltation can cause drying out. Furthermore, many of the largest and most important reedbeds in Britain are on the eastern coast, and are threatened by sea-level rise (6).