Predicting site suitability for natural colonisation
Natural colonisation (the natural regeneration of trees on land adjacent to existing woodland) is the preferred means of achieving native woodland expansion.
However, it is often difficult to predict how successful this process is likely to be. A range of factors need to be considered when assessing the potential of new schemes and planning remedial action on unsuccessful sites.
A survey of colonisation schemes was undertaken for Forestry Commission Scotland. The focus was on Highland birchwoods and native pinewoods. Each scheme was assessed to determine the dispersal of seedlings across the site, influence of soil nutrient and soil moisture regime together with vegetation structure.
The main findings from this research were summarised and presented in Forestry Commission Information Note 54: