Hazel Dormouse Conservation

Our research in this area focuses on understanding the status of hazel dormouse populations in the UK, the habitat needs of the Hazel Dormouse, and how these fit within wider woodland conservation.

The hazel dormouse is in decline in the UK, where climate and the extent and quality of forested habitats has changed over the recent past. Dr Cecily Goodwin‘s PhD researched the patterns and drivers of hazel dormouse decline and how their conservation can be better integrated into woodland management practises. We are also interested in the efficacy of conservation policy to protect this declining species.

We have approached these research questions using long-term national population data collected by citizen scientists, remote sensing data of woodland habitat cover and quality, and data collected in the field on dormouse diet and movements.

Further areas of investigation include: population modelling and simulation; predictive modelling of suitable habitat; and examining the dynamics of  dormice populations in woodlands of different structure and composition.

Building on Cecily’s work, Ellie Scopes’ PhD research will be investigating how forest management techniques impact dormouse populations, and in turn how they might be used to reverse dormouse decline and increase their distribution. The management techniques that may be investigated will include coppicing, selective felling and deer exclusion, all of which impact the structure and diversity of a forest under-story.  



Goodwin, C. E., Hodgson, D. J., Al‐Fulaij, N., Bailey, S., Langton, S., & Mcdonald, R. A. (2017). Voluntary recording scheme reveals ongoing decline in the United Kingdom hazel dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius population. Mammal Review47(3), 183-197.

Goodwin, C. E., Hodgson, D. J., Bailey, S., Bennie, J., & McDonald, R. A. (2018). Habitat preferences of hazel dormice Muscardinus avellanarius and the effects of tree-felling on their movement. Forest Ecology and Management427, 190-199.

Goodwin, C. E., Suggitt, A. J., Bennie, J., Silk, M. J., Duffy, J. P., Al‐Fulaij, N., Bailey, S., Hodgson, D. & McDonald, R. A. (2018). Climate, landscape, habitat, and woodland management associations with hazel dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius population status. Mammal Review48(3), 209-223.

Research Team 2013-2018

Professor Robbie McDonald (University of Exeter)

Professor Dave Hodgson (University of Exeter)

Dr Sallie Bailey (Forestry Commission)