Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Scotland’s native Caledonian pine forest to be doubled in size

April 2014: One hundred thousand trees, including birch, aspen, two species of willow and alders, are to be planted on of Abernethy forest nature reserve in Speyside, which will almost double the total size of the woodland, and join it up with the fragmented surrounding remnants.

Abernethy hosts some of the rarest and most iconic species in the UK, with around 12 percent of the population of capercaillie, as well as Scottish crossbills, crested tits, wildcats, pine martens, black grouse, golden eagles and many rare mosses, fungi and plants including twinflower.

Managing and reducing the grazing pressure on the reserve from deer over the past quarter century has already enabled the Scots pine trees of Abernethy forest to expand by self-seeded natural regeneration, with more than 800 hectares of new pine saplings now established. However, although the main component of Caledonian pine forest is the native Scots pine, a critical element of ancient pine forests include a broader range of native shrub and broadleaved tree species – such as juniper, birch, rowan, alder and willows – and whilst recovery of the pine element at Abernethy has been successful, some of these other species remain extremely scarce of localised.

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