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Caledonian pine forest

By Taylor Wildlife, Jul 23 2018 11:00PM

The Caledonian pine forest was named after Caledonia, taken from the Romans. Caledonia means 'wooded heights' - which is in-keeping with the location of said forests in and around the Cairngorms and Highlands of Scotland. The trees themselves consist principally of Scots pine Pinus sylvestris, with willow Salix sp., Aspen Populus tremula and birch Betula sp.



Not the usual woodland view, but an inspiration to look up!
Not the usual woodland view, but an inspiration to look up!


The forests are listed on UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) due to their ecological significance. They support several key Scottish bird species including the declining capercaillie, black grouse, crested tit, Scottish and parrot crossbill. Mammals are also represented by the elusive pine marten, the even more elusive Scottish wildcat, and red squirrels.




A  Scot's pine forest managed for timber, with an area of clearfell
A Scot's pine forest managed for timber, with an area of clearfell

These forests, once adapted to the Scottish climate and environment, are in decline. A staggering less than 5% of the original 1.5 million hectares of Caledonian pine forest remains, making it a habitat of conservation concern. Human intervention, including deforestation for timber and changes in land use are among the reasons for the decline. Natural regeneration of young shoots has proven difficult due to grazing pressure from over-stocking the uplands with sheep and high numbers of red deer.


Work is currently on-going to restore these fragmented forests in the Highlands. If you are a landowner and would like to find out more about grants available for the restoration of native woodland (including Scots pine, mixed broadleaved woodland, or diverse conifer woodland), please contact us.





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