Natural regeneration workshop

Considering techniques for encouraging natural regeneration in native pinewoods

News from Forest Research: April 2008

Visit to natural pinewood regeneration siteForest Research’s Colin Edwards recently held a one-day workshop for foresters and conservationists to consider techniques for encouraging natural regeneration in native pinewoods, particularly in areas under deer pressure, and to explore forest managers’ expectations of these techniques.

Kicking off proceedings at Glenmore Lodge (Grampian Region, Scotland), Helen Armstrong described the effects of deer and cattle on Scots pine regeneration and presented results from a cattle grazing experiment in Glen Garry. Sarah Taylor then gave a presentation on ‘Regeneration dynamics in pinewoods’. This study is part of a larger project developing a stand-level population model for native pinewoods.

Colin Edwards gave a talk on ‘Seventy-seven years of natural regeneration trials: results to date’. He presented data from two long-term monitoring plots, which indicate that current pinewood populations lack young trees, but that this may be addressed using locally intensive site disturbance. Anne Elliott from Scottish Natural Heritage introduced the Kinveachy long-term fenced exclosures and presented data on the slow growth rates of seedlings from this area.

Mark Hancock (from the RSPB) discussed the impact of a deer cull in Abernethy and the resulting increased seedling numbers. He explained how the RSPB are also using controlled fires and cattle that mimic trampling by large wild herbivores to imitate natural disturbance in their efforts to manage for forest expansion.

After the presentations, an animated discussion of the wider implications of deer management and regeneration was followed by site visits to Glenmore long-term research plot and Kinveachy Estate.

The workshop enabled participants to understand that their expectations of seedling growth were unrealistic compared to the actual rates of height and density development measured in research trials. They recognised that longer time frames were needed for natural regeneration to take effect, and that techniques to increase growth may need to be considered where rapid results are essential.

For further information, please contact Colin Edwards.


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This and other news stories can be found in the April 2008 issue of FR Eye, our online newsletter.