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Integrated establishment systems for the uplands research to date

Research in the 1990s

Forest of AeIn the 1990s establishment research was a major component of the studies conducted at the Northern Research Station and comprised separate programmes on:

  • Nursery techniques
  • Establishment methods
  • Planting stock quality.

Following major publications and technology transfer to these sectors these efforts were rationalised.

Current emphasis

The emphasis of the programme is now delivery of operational tools for effective management and critical evaluation of existing knowledge to ensure future research efforts are targeted to areas where current understanding is incomplete.

To date this principle has led to specific research projects aimed at:

  • Developing our understanding of the correlation between measures of plant quality and establishment techniques to improve establishment success for the different climatic conditions encountered across upland Britain
  • Assessing low-cost establishment techniques (e.g. direct seeding)
  • Utilising new ecophysiological tools for the assessment of natural regeneration under CCF regimes
  • Utilising recent technological developments in the field of remote sensing for the assessment of standing timber volume and quality
  • Investigating developing technologies for reducing artificial nutrition and the utilisation of peat alternatives in nursery production systems
  • Testing and improving guidelines for the establishment of new native woodlands
  • Investigations of rooting under developing restock silvicultural practices
  • Improving existing knowledge regarding the ecological preferences of native Oak species.

Major elements of the programme include understanding of the impacts of the following on establishment:

  • Site factors
    Soils, lithology, and climate.
  • Stand dynamics
    Establishment and development of seedling trees under a variety of different management regimes (e.g. direct seeding, CCF, single/mixed species assemblages)
  • Vegetation
    Description of the site types colonised by competitive species and options for their effective control.