Legacy Planting

Glen Noe, Taynuilt, Argyll & Bute

Land use: 20 ha of upland hill ground, managed for sheep production and commercial deer stalking.

Challenge:

The aim of planting was to create a mosaic of diverse, native woodland within a remote Highland glen with very little existing tree cover. In addition to improving biodiversity, the family wanted to create a long-lasting legacy by influencing the return of native Caledonian Scots Pine and Oak/Birch woodland to the glen for the enjoyment of all. The woodland must also:

  • Take into account ancient woodland habitats designated as a SSSI/SAC nearby
  • Create habitat suitable for improving the prey base for golden eagle (e.g. black grouse) as the glen is within a SPA
  • Contain a productive element, providing wood products in the future and an alternative fuel source for the estate

How we addressed this:

We secured funding for this scheme through the Forestry Grant Scheme https://forestry.gov.scot/support-regulations/forestry-grants.

Approximately 20 hectares was planted with trees native to Scotland, predominantly comprising native Caledonian Scots Pine (NSP), Silver Birch and Sessile Oak. In addition, Downy Birch, Alder, Rowan, Bird Cherry, Hazel, willows, Juniper, Hawthorn and Aspen have been planted at a low density around woodland margins and key riparian zones to protect important habitats and further improve local biodiversity.

When designing the woodland, conservation designations, existing flora and fauna, breeding birds, deep peat, views from the local area and continuing use of the estate for sheep production and deer stalking were also considered. Golden eagles were of primary importance and consideration was made for them in the short-term by ensuring that there was no disturbance during operations and in the long-term by creating a habitat that will, in time, improve potential prey resources.

The woodland will be managed under two different silvicultural systems. Scots Pine (NSP) and low density broadleaves will be managed using LISS (Low Intervention Silvicultural System) and will not be felled, remaining into perpetuity. Broadleaves will be managed by CCF (Continuous Cover Forestry) to provide future wood products. Yields of timber will be supplied over time whilst gradually opening the canopy through a managed thinning programme, ultimately improving the quality of the ever-maturing crop and allowing natural regeneration to supplement gaps created.

These styles of woodland management increase species and structural diversity, providing a more resilient woodland in relation to climate change, pests, diseases and extreme weather events. Without the impact of large clearfells, they are more sympathetic to the site and its nature conservation interests, the local road infrastructure and local landscape.

Results:

Over time, this multi-purpose woodland will deliver a range of benefits by;

  • Commencing the return of native Caledonian Scots pine and Oak/Birch woodland to the glen, benefitting ecosystems, native species and the landscape character to all who visit
  • Producing a range of sustainable wood products, providing a tax-free income to the landowner and an alternative fuel source for the estate
  • Sequestering carbon, contributing towards Scotland’s climate change targets
  • Providing important shelter and cover for both deer and sheep

Glen Noe native woodland, planted 2018. All images JDM Woodland Management Ltd.

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