How Scotland’s foresters are battling non-native invasive species
Forestry Commission Scotland
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1M ago
Invasive alien species are one of the main direct drivers of biodiversity loss worldwide. We’re making significant efforts to control invasive species across Scotland's national forests and land. As part of this, we’re tackling invasive plant species like Rhododendron ponticum, salal (Gaultheria shallon), and American skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus). We also support the efforts of other organisations to control species such as the North American signal crayfish; the American mink, which is a serious threat to native water vole; and the grey squirrel, which threatens the UK's native ..read more
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Good news for Scotland's rainforest
Forestry Commission Scotland
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2M ago
We've beaten our in-house rainforest restoration target for 2023-24 by 141% thanks to an extraordinary effort by our teams.  This is only possible thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country who have worked incredibly hard to make it happen.  Scotland's rainforest is rich in biodiversity, including a unique selection of oceanic bryophytes (bryophyte is the collective term often used for mosses, liverworts and hornworts) and lichens. Restoring this precious habitat on Scotland’s national forests and land is one important way that we're working to fight the glo ..read more
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The technology supporting our harvesting fleet
Forestry Commission Scotland
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2M ago
Harvesting timber is a key part of what we do, so we thought we'd share some of the clever technology used by our teams. One of the ways we fell timber is with harvesting machines that use sensors to measure the diameter of the tree. The machine grips the trunk of the tree using a grapple harvesting head, then cuts it at the stump with its internal chainsaw, before lifting it free from the ground and removing the branches with static knives as the tree passes through the head. Our highly trained operators use the information, measured by the harvester, to determine how the product is cut.&nb ..read more
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Rare species helping to restore native woodland
Forestry Commission Scotland
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2M ago
Many don’t realise that Scotland is home to a native apple species, the wild apple (Malus sylvestris). Due to hybridisation, and historically being seen as unimportant the native wild apple is becoming an increasingly rare species. However, recently our teams worked with Highland Perthshire Community Land Trust as part of our partnership with the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership to plant native wild apple trees in Highland Perthshire. Part of this partnership work involves providing practical experience for their Positive Destinations Rural Skills Training programme. The programme ai ..read more
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The 'Last Ent of Affric' is no longer alone
Forestry Commission Scotland
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3M ago
An ancient elm tree that has stood alone in Glen Affric for hundreds of years is now the guardian over a new generation of its species. Known as the Last Ent of Affric in homage to the tree-shepherds from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the tree has been chosen to help in the fight against Dutch elm disease. Thirty-five young elm trees have been transferred from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and replanted next to the Last Ent of Affric, which was awarded Scottish Tree of the Year in 2019. These will be the first of 200 trees planted over the next two years, with our team working alongs ..read more
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How we can help solitary bees
Forestry Commission Scotland
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3M ago
Around 270 species of bees are found in the UK, with nearly 90% solitary species. Some that can be seen in Scotland include the red mason bee, common carder bee and the chocolate mining bee that burrows in soil. So why are these bees important and what can we do to help them?  Chocolate mining bee (Andrena scotica) With the signs of spring showing, many solitary bees have already been busy foraging. Compared to honey bees, solitary bees are able to stay active in lower temperatures, therefore increasing the efficiency of pollination. These bees can be a key pollinator for many of o ..read more
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A82 felling reaches toughest challenge yet
Forestry Commission Scotland
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3M ago
We're reaching the steepest part of the A82 next week.  This is part of our steep ground felling programme on the hillside overlooking Loch Ness. The next phase of work, which will run from April until the end of June, will see large Douglas firs removed from a slope with a gradient of almost 90 per cent in places. Making it the most challenging phase of the project to date. Our Planning Manager Ian Allsop said; “harvesting is generally a hazardous business. Factor-in bad weather and it becomes trickier still.   But add to that some incredibly steep ground and you are faced with a ..read more
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How lasers, drones and real-time tracking are improving forestry
Forestry Commission Scotland
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4M ago
Forestry is adapting — and it needs to! We face challenges ranging from extreme weather events and physically difficult operating conditions to invasive species and disease.    That’s why we’re always on the lookout for creative solutions to help us work better, like using lasers to map the land or drones to stabilise steep slopes.  Let’s take a look at a few of the exciting projects we’re currently working on.  Cutting-edge laser technology LiDAR (light detection and ranging) uses lasers to measure distances to objects with incredible precision.   It can ga ..read more
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Steep-ground trees used in log cabin build
Forestry Commission Scotland
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4M ago
We recently provided logs the length of a double decker bus to a specialist carpenter for a full-scale log house.  The house is being constructed by Bedrock Buildings Ltd. and will be moved to a plot of land in Tomich where it will be rebuilt in early summer.   The finished structure will use a total of 52 massive, 100-year-old Douglas fir logs.  The logs were harvested by highly skilled contractors at Duffy Skylining as part of our A82 steep ground harvesting programme as they’re getting too large for the landscape, causing a potential risk for landslips along the popular tou ..read more
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Dig deeper: revealing the ruins of Brunell Township
Forestry Commission Scotland
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5M ago
The low stone walls and earthen banks of a post-medieval township were recently discovered in Glen Brittle Forest on the Isle of Skye during an environmental check ahead of harvesting. Likely dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, the township comprises a range of houses, byres, barns and corn-drying kilns. The buildings were located within a mature conifer plantation of predominantly Sitka spruce that was planted in 1977, with many sites partially masked by windblown trees. We recently commissioned a detailed survey by AOC Archaeology. Before their fieldwork, the archaeologists first look ..read more
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