Scotland’s oldest wild pine saved by Timber for Life – Mark Avery

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Distant woodland – house to Scotland’s oldest wild pine – saved as a part of rewilding initiative 

A distant historical woodland – house to Scotland’s oldest wild Scots pine, which is at the least 565-years-old – has been saved from being misplaced perpetually and given an opportunity of regeneration because of Timber for Life, as a part of the charity’s huge Affric Highlands rewilding initiative. 

Glen Loyne Picture: Sian Addison

The pinewood remnant of some 57 pines, all a number of centuries outdated and scattered by Glen Loyne within the northwest Highlands, was in danger from overgrazing by extreme numbers of deer – a key menace to surviving Caledonian pinewoods that stops them from naturally regenerating. 

The oldest pine has been dated to at the least 1458 by St Andrews Tree-Ring Laboratory, and is believed to be even older. The ancestry of such pines stretches again to the final ice age.

In cooperation with the landowner, whose love of the pinewoods made the venture attainable, Timber for Life has created a brand new deer-proof ‘exclosure’ of fencing to guard the woodland, together with essentially the most historical pines, and to permit younger seedlings to develop with out being eaten.

Glen Loyne’s wild pines and different Caledonian pinewoods are globally distinctive, and a particular a part of Scotland’s character and tradition. Saving and restoring them gives a significant alternative for tackling the character and local weather crises,” mentioned James Rainey, senior ecologist at Timber for Life.

 Timber for Life surveyed the positioning as a part of its four-year Caledonian Pinewood Restoration Mission, one of the crucial complete surveys of the well being of Scotland’s pinewoods. The workforce discovered that a few of the oldest pines had been exterior an space of fencing which had been erected within the Nineties to guard the timber from grazing strain. Deer had additionally breached the fenced space.

Glen Loyne deer fence Picture: Bret Charman

 Timber for Life has now erected 1.5 kilometres of recent fencing, and has linked up, prolonged and repaired current sections, with the heavy-duty supplies having to be transported into the distant glen by helicopter. The pinewood will now be capable of naturally regenerate for the primary time in a long time.

Fencing is simply a short lived repair, however for now it’s an important means of giving these treasured pinewoods a preventing likelihood of restoration till efficient landscape-scale deer administration may be correctly established,” mentioned James Rainey.

Traditionally a part of the royal looking grounds of Cluanie, the Glen Loyne woodlands would as soon as have been house to capercaillie, wildcat, and lynx. Ordnance Survey maps from 1874 present a extra intensive woodland within the glen, however by the Nineties there have been solely 85 historical pines left – a quantity that has since been decreased additional to only 57.

The character restoration venture has been funded by the household of Harry Steven, who with Jock Carlise wrote The Native Pinewoods of Scotland, printed in 1959. This pioneering e-book recognised the particular standing of the pinewoods, and documented 35 wild pine populations that had managed to outlive centuries of deforestation.

Within the Nineties, the work of Steven and Carlisle led to the then Forestry Fee Scotland compiling Scotland’s official Caledonian Pinewood Stock, which in the present day recognises 84 websites.

Glen Loyne, on East Glen Quoich property, lies inside Affric Highlands – the UK’s largest rewilding panorama. Led by Timber for Life and Rewilding Europe, this 30-year community-focused initiative will restore woodland, peatland and riverside habitats over half one million acres from Loch Ness to the west coast, supporting re-peopling and nature-based financial alternatives. 

The Caledonian forest as soon as coated a lot of the Highlands, however in the present day lower than 2% survives. The pinewoods are one in every of Scotland’s richest habitats, and provide refuge to declining wildlife similar to crimson squirrels, capercaillie and crossbills. Timber for Life is devoted to rewilding the Highlands, together with by restoring the Caledonian forest. See treesforlife.org.uk.

 

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