The Caledonian pinewoods in the National Park are greater in total area and individual size and better connected than anywhere else in Scotland. Expansion, enhancement and improving connectivity in suitable and strategic places, will further enhance habitat networks and build on the already outstanding importance.
More than one-third of the conifer plantations are on Ancient Woodland Sites; these plantations comprise nearly half the woodland in the Park. The appropriate management of existing planted conifer woodlands significantly improves their biodiversity value, to the extent where they can almost equal that of native pine woods.
Birches are the principal trees in most of the broad-leaved woods in the Park. Along with stands of aspen, a rare component of woods, they contribute hugely to the biodiversity of woodlands. Grazing management, habitat loss, lack of regeneration and fragmentation are the key issues for birch and aspen woodlands. The Park also holds Scotland’s largest extent of bog woodland, excellent habitat for dragonflies, amphibians and mosses.
Woodland Trust ancient woodland restoration project
Plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) are ancient woods that have been felled and re-planted. In most PAWS remnant historic and ecological features still survive in amongst the plantation crop – vital links back to the original ancient woodland.
Positive management of PAWS can make a major contribution to the overall biodiversity value of our woodlands. The Woodland Trust has recently secured Heritage Lottery funding to do just that and the Cairngorms is one of two areas in Scotland chosen to be part of the largest UK ancient woodland restoration project.
If you manage a PAW site, Woodland Trust can provide free, expert advice and support. For more information contact Alan Crawford.