Rationale for the management of upland native woodlands research programme

AUTUMN BIRCH IN GLEN AFFRIC AUGUSTUS FD.Apart from the native pinewoods, there has been little systematic research into the silviculture of native woodlands in upland Britain. Even in the pinewoods, research has been sporadic and has largely emphasised regeneration problems.

Existing native woodlands

The desire to utilise natural regeneration as the preferred means of securing the future of existing woodlands and extending their area necessitates a good understanding of the factors influencing its success. Although some aspects such as the deleterious effects of browsing animals are widely recognised, many others are much less clearly understood. As a result, successful regeneration is often not achieved.

Woodland restoration needs to be guided by information on the potential structure and composition of particular native woodland types. Although important advances have been made with the development of the National Vegetation Classification (Rodwell, 1991) and the Ecological Site Classification (Pyatt, 1995), detailed guidance and models of forest structure and composition for specific woodland types are still lacking.

The invasion of native broadleaved woodlands in Wales and the west of Scotland by Rhododendron ponticum has become a major barrier to regeneration, particularly in the native oakwoods. There is therefore a need for the development of effective and efficient methods of clearing and controlling its regrowth whilst avoiding damage to the existing tree cover and associated woodland environment.

Creation of new native woodlands

Guidance is available in:

The latter gives design prescriptions by NVC woodland community with information on appropriate sites, major and minor species, along with some discussion of woodland structure and pattern. More detailed, site specific guidance on aspects such as site variability and species choice, planting patterns, species mixtures and future stand development remains to be developed.

Understanding of the effects of establishment methods upon stand development is an area of importance in view of current policy of "the minimum site disturbance commensurate with satisfactory establishment".

 

             

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