FDP text Loch Shiel2012 by XM46j3gN

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									                                                                Lochaber Forest District

                                                                     Forest Design Plan


                                                                     LOCH SHIEL

                                                                      2012-2022




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LOCH SHIEL Forest Design Plan 2012-2022




                                                                Loch Shiel Forest Design Plan
                                                                FOREST ENTERPRISE
Lochaber Forest District
                                                                Application for Forest Design Plan Approvals
                                                                Forest Enterprise - Property
LOCH SHIEL
                                                                  Forest District:                     Lochaber FD
Forest Design Plan
                                                                  Property name:                       Loch Shiel
                                                                  Nearest town, village or locality:   Polloch
                                                                  OS Grid reference:                   NM 820720
                                                                  Local Authority district/unitary     Highland Council
                                                                  Authority:
                                                                  Plan Area                            1811ha
                                                                  Conifer Felling                      325 ha
                                                                  Broadleaved Felling                  0.0ha


                                                                1. I apply for Forest Design Plan approval for the property described above and in the
                                                                  enclosed Forest Design Plan.

             Approval date: ***                                 2. I confirm that the scoping, carried out and documented in the Consultation Record
                                                                  attached, incorporated those stakeholders which the FC agreed must be included.
             Plan Reference No: ****                              Where it has not been possible to resolve specific issues associated with the plan to
                                                                  the satisfaction of consultees, this is highlighted in the Consultation Record.
             Plan Approval Date: *****
                                                                3. I confirm that the proposals contained in this plan comply with the UK Forestry
             Plan Expiry Date: ******                             Standard.

                                                                4. I undertake to obtain any permissions necessary for the implementation of the
                                                                  approved Plan.



                                                                Signed……………………………………….             Signed………………………………….
                                                                Forest District Manager                      Conservator




                                                                Date……………………………………                       Date of Approval……………………..



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                                                                       5.0 Forest Design Plan Proposals
                                                                           5.1 Management
Date Approval Ends………………………………………………………………………
                                                                           5.2 Future habitats and species
Plan Reference no.
                                                                           5.3 Restructuring (could be a sub-section above where appropriate)
        Approvals page GLM6 - Insert here and delete this page
                                                                           5.4 Future management (could be a sub-section above where appropriate)
                                                                           5.5 Species tables (could be a sub-section above where appropriate)
Contents                                                                   5.6 Age structure (could be a sub-section above where appropriate)
                                                                           5.7 PAWS restoration (could be a sub-section above where appropriate)
Summary of Proposals                                                       5.8 Management of open land (could be a sub-section above where appropriate)
                                                                           5.9 Deer management (could be a sub-section above where appropriate)
1.0 Introduction:                                                          5.10 Access (could be a sub-section above where appropriate)
        1.1 Setting and context                                            5.11 Critical success factors
        1.2 History of the forest

2.0 Analysis of previous plan                                          Support documents: Maps
                                                                       (Change as necessary)
3.0 Background information                                                 • Location map
     3.1 Physical site factors (egs of sub headings below)
                                                                           •   Context map
         3.1.1 Geology Soils and landform
         3.1.2 Water                                                       •   Key Features map(s)
         3.1.3 Climate
                                                                           •   Analysis and concept map(s)
    3.2 Biodiversity and environmental designations
    3.3 The existing forest: (egs of sub headings below)                   •   Management map
         3.3.1 Age structure, species and yield class                      •   Thinning map
         3.3.2 Access
         3.3.3 LISS potential                                              •   Future habitats and management map(s)
         3.3.4 Current and potential markets                               •   3D Visualisations
    3.4 Landscape and land use (egs of sub headings below)
         3.4.1 Landscape character and value                           Appendices:
         3.4.2 Visibility
                                                                           i) Consultation record
         3.4.3 Neighbouring land use
                                                                           ii) Tolerance table
    3.5 Social factors
                                                                           iii) Summary of site assessments
         3.5.1 Recreation
                                                                           iv) FDP brief
         3.5.2 Community
         3.5.3 Heritage
     3.6 Statutory requirements and key external policies              Planning
4.0 Analysis and Concept
        4.1 Analysis
        4.2 Concepts of the plan




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Summary of Proposals                                                                             While relatively close to a good log market the FDP area is a long way from small
                                                                                                 round wood markets reducing the financial viability of thinning. There are
Principal Management objectives of the Plan are as follows:                                      constraints regarding access for management purposes with no access from
                                                                                                 Polloch to Strontian and Corran. All timber access currently runs to the north and
        Conservation Restoration and expansion of native woodland of ecological values as       joins the public road network at Glenfinnan. This is convenient for the BSW log
         cited in statutory designations.                                                        market but less so for other markets.

        Timber Production.                                                                      There are no sporting rights associated within the forest block. Deer stalking is
                                                                                                 important on the neighbouring estates. Deer populations on the National Forest
        Maintenance and enhancement of landscape values.                                        Estate are currently managed in correspondence with FC objectives.
                                                                                                 The forest road which runs the length of the forest block is also a PROW.
        Maintenance of current levels of recreational provision.

        Maintenance of known heritage features.

        These correspond with the characteristics of the site and align with the Scottish
        Forestry Strategy (SFS) 2006.
        All operations will be carried out in accordance with the UK Forestry Standard
        (UKFS) and UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS).




Principal Features of the next ten years.
              Amount of felling
              Amount of restocking
              Area under regeneration.
              Area of native woodland under restoration
              Maintain NSA/ SSSI in favourable condition.




1.0 Introduction
1.1 Setting and context

        Grid Ref; NM 820720
        The Forest Design Plan area known as Loch Shiel lies along the eastern shore of
        the middle section of Loch Shiel in Lochaber, from Polloch to Scammadale. The
        Loch Shiel FDP is contiguous with the Glen Hurich FDP and Achnanellan FDP. There     1.2 History of the forest
        are links between the three Forest Design Plans. The FDP area is within a
                                                                                                 Forestry Commission freehold. Purchased from the Board of Agriculture in
        designated NSA.
                                                                                                 1927.The landscape was largely open with some ribbons of wet woodland confined



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     to the burns and an extensive area of oak woodland in the southernmost area.                  Pyramidal mountain summits with a jagged profile, often appearing as
     Some early planting of conifers can still be found in remote localities. The site was          overlapping peaks, along glen views.
     largely open until this time. Large scale planting of conifers took place during the         Sweeping slopes with screes plunging directly into deep glens or lochs with little
     1970s and 1980s.                                                                               or no flat shoreline fringe.
                                                                                                  Numerous rocky outcrops punctuated with steep rugged terrain.
                                                                                              The southern end of the FDP gives way to “Rugged Massif” characterised by:
                                                                                                  Large rocky masses drawing the eye upwards to ice-scoured rounded summits.
2.0 Analysis of previous plan                                                                     Thin soils supporting sparse cover of grasses and heather on higher, drier slopes.
                                                                                                  Birch scrub and some oak wood lands on lower slopes and within burn gullies and
         The previous iteration of this plan was produced in 2001. A number of the coupes           hanging valleys.
         have been worked over the intervening period. Several changes in policy have
         occurred since 2001, not least the commitment to the restoration of Plantations             Soils are an intimate mixture of mainly peaty gleys with some surface water
         on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS). Some of the coupes in the previous plan                   gleys, with no macro scale variation. They are moderately fertile, although wet
         were designed out of respect to landscape only but have been difficult to                   due to the heavy rainfall in the area.
         implement operationally. The area of the plan has been extended to the south
         west to take in an area formerly part of the Glen Hurich FDP. The Loch Shiel FDP
         now takes in the whole of the shore The FDP area is situated at an elevation of      3.1.2 Water
         10m to 680m with the tree line reaching a level of 430m.
                                                                                                     The whole of the Loch Shiel FDP drains westward into Loch Shiel. Loch Shiel is a
         DAMS rating by area 15% 0 to 14
                                                                                                     high quality freshwater loch, some 17 miles in length. There are numerous burns
                             60% 15 to 17
                                                                                                     that feed into the loch from the forest area. These are largely shrouded in
                             25% 18 to 24
                                                                                                     riparian zones of alder and birch.
                                                                                                     Marine Harvest use Loch Shiel as a fresh water Salmon farming site but it also
        Some of the felling of the previous plan has been left fallow and following a new
                                                                                                     holds a stock of wild Atlantic salmon, Brown Trout and Arctic Char, which are
        native and ancient woodland policy, is awaiting natural regeneration of site native
                                                                                                     fished for recreationally.
        broadleaves (see Appendix IV).


                                                                                              3.1.3 Climate
                                                                                                     The climate is mild, wet and windy with an average annual rainfall of 1730mm.
                                                                                                     The alignment of the loch in a SW-NE direction means that the prevailing winds
3.0 Background information                                                                           are likely to strike up the valley parallel to the forest, with Scamodale being
                                                                                                     somewhat more sheltered.
3.1 Physical site factors
                                                                                                     The FDP area is situated at an elevation of 10m to 680m with the tree line
3.1.1 Geology Soils and landform                                                                     reaching a level of 430m.

    Scottish Natural Heritage, Publication Number 97, Lochaber                                       DAMS rating by area 15% 0 to 14
Landscape Character Assessment 1998.                                                                                     60% 15 to 17
                                                                                                                         25% 18 to 24
Describes the Loch Shiel FDP area as follows
    The north east end of the Loch Shiel FDP is “Interlocking Sweeping Peaks”
    characterised by;



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         Wind throw has previously been a problem where thinning has taken place. In many             There are extensive areas of Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS). This
         cases this may have been due to the timing intervention. A high proportion of the area       amounts to approximately 246ha to the southern end of the FDP area. During the
         falls into a high wind throw category. Combined with steep slopes it is unlikely that        previous phase of the FDP, conifer coupes within the designated PAWS area have
         much thinning is possible in this area.                                                      been felled and are being monitored to establish the probability of natural
                                                                                                      regeneration of native broadleaves.




3.2 Biodiversity and environmental designations
    Conservation Designations
    SSSI: - Black throated divers, Oak woodlands, Native Scots pine
    SPA: - Eagles
    NSA

    The forest and its surrounds provides a habitat which is used by important species
    including red squirrel, great northern divers, golden eagles, sea eagles, badgers,
    otters, dragonflies, butterflies including the chequered skipper and pearl bordered
    fritillary.

    The area is enclosed with a deer fence, which along with increased deer control has
    reduced the level of browsing. This has allowed some areas of native woodland to
    regenerate.

    There is approximately 267Ha of designated PAWS within the FDP area.




3.3 The existing forest:                                                                          3.3.2 Access
                                                                                                      The forest road which runs from the A830 in the north at Glenfinnan to the village
3.3.1 Age structure, species and yield class                                                          of Polloch, provides an alternative emergency route for village services during
                                                                                                      adverse weather conditions, i.e. fuel vehicles oil, gas and coal. It should also be
        The dominant species in the FDP area is Sitka spruce, with elements of Larch.                 noted that the Royal Mail post van runs on a daily basis – Monday to Saturday – on
        Broadleaves are widespread, accounting for around 33% of the woodland area The                this road...
        majority of the forest was planted in the 1970s, but there are areas around
        Scamodale that date from the 1930s.




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                                                                                               3.4 Landscape and land use
                                                                                               3.4.1 Landscape character and value
                                                                                                    SNH, Publication number 97, Landscape Character Assessment, 1998. Describes
                                                                                                    the north east end of the Loch Shiel FDP as:-
                                                                                                    “Interlocking Sweeping Peaks” characterised by; Pyramidal mountain summits with
                                                                                                    a jagged profile, often appearing as overlapping peaks along glen views. Sweeping
                                                                                                    slopes with screes plunging directly into deep glens or lochs, with little or no flat
                                                                                                    shoreline fringe. Numerous rocky outcrops punctuated with steep rugged terrain.
                                                                                                    The southern end of the FDP gives way to: -                              “Rugged
                                                                                                    Massif” characterised by large rocky masses drawing the eye upwards to ice-
                                                                                                    scoured rounded summits. Thin soils supporting sparse cover of grasses and
                                                                                                    heather on higher on drier slopes.
                                                                                                    Birch scrub and some oak wood lands on lower slopes and within burn gullies and
                                                                                                    hanging valleys.


                                                                                               3.4.2 Visibility
                                                                                                    The FDP area which lies within an NSA is most visible from boats on the loch and
3.3.3 LISS potential                                                                                from the western shore, which provides recreational opportunities for hikers,
     There is little opportunity for the implementation of low impact silviculture among            cyclists and horses. The forest is not visible from the road, however the small scale
     conifers due to the steep ground and high wind throw hazard. These factors                     landscape along the road and the views from it form an important element of the
     militate against thinning the ability to manipulate crop structure. By contrast,               landscape design.
     many of the deeper rooting broadleaves on suitable soils and flatter ground may
     be thinned. Broadleaves on steeper sites may be suitable for minimum
     intervention.                                                                             3.4.3 Neighbouring land use
                                                                                                    The major adjacent estate landowner is Strathcona. This is principally a traditional
                                                                                                    estate with a major sporting and hill farming interest. Loch Shiel itself has a
3.3.4 Current and potential markets
                                                                                                    number of fish farming interests.
     While relatively close to a good log market the FDP area is a long way from small round
     wood markets reducing the financial viability of thinning. There are constraints          3.5 Social factors
     regarding access for management purposes with no access from Polloch to Strontian
     and Corran. All timber access currently runs to the north and joins the public road       3.5.1 Recreation
     network at Glenfinnan. This is convenient for the BSW market but less so for other             The forest road is also a PROW. There is a jetty for pleasure boats at the south end
     markets.                                                                                       of the FDP area. This road (PROW) is popular with walkers, cyclists and
                                                                                                    equestrians.

                                                                                                    Reasonable precautions will be taken during forest operations to keep this PROW
                                                                                                    open to permitted users. All forest operations should be planned to allow the
                                                                                                    continuation of recreational users. This may require the construction of short well




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        maintained and well signed diversions while forest operations are being carried         Scheduled   Rubha an Fhaing     This monument consists of
        out.                                                                                    Ancient     Dhuibh,settlement   an oval enclosure of
                                                                                                Monument                        probable prehistoric date
3.5.2 Community                                                                                                                 and other associated
        Polloch is isolated community that can be disadvantaged by its very remoteness.                                         structures.
        The Forest Road which runs from the A830 in the north at Glenfinnan to the village
        of Polloch provides and alternative emergency route for the village services during                                     The oval enclosure
        adverse conditions. I.e. the mail and fuel vehicles oil, coal and gas. Reasonable                                       occupies the entire
        precautions will be taken during forest operations to keep the provision of essential                                   promontory of a headland
        services to Polloch via the Loch Shiel haul road.                                                                       known as Rubha an Fhaing
                                                                                                                                Dhuibh on the S shore of
3.5.3 Heritage                                                                                                                  Loch Shiel. The neck of the
        There are a number of features of heritage interest. Mostly associated with de                                          headland is cut off by a dry
        populated settlements and evidence of historic land management activity such as                                         stone wall about 1.1m
        charcoal platforms, etc. Many of these have been identified as a result of local                                        thick and there are traces
        archaeological studies. Known features have been identified and entered onto the                                        of a possible stone rampart
        heritage layer of GIS. There is one Scheduled Ancient Monument at Rubha an                                              under the waterline around
        Fhaing (see below).                                                                                                     the edge of the headland.
                                                                                                                                The interior of the
                                                                                                                                enclosure is rather flat and
                                                                                                                                featureless. On the
                                                                                                                                landward side and built
                                                                                                                                into the wall there is a
                                                                                                                                series of stone-built
                                                                                                                                enclosures, probably later
                                                                                                                                in date than the main
                                                                                                                                enclosure and perhaps
3.6 Statutory requirements                                                                                                      associated with sheep
        The area is subject to a number of statutory designations.                                                              farming. Traces of a stone
                                                                                                                                dyke run out to the SW of
         Designation              Name                         Notifable elements                                               the site.
         Site of Special          Loch Shiel SSSI              Black Throated Divers
         Scientific                                                                                                             The area to be scheduled
         Interest (SSSI)                                                                                                        measures a maximum of
         National Scenic          Loch Shiel NSA               The FDP area falls                                               65m E-W by 62m SSW-
         Area (NSA)                                            within a designated                                              NNE, to include all of the
                                                               NSA some work i.e.                                               enclosures, the stone dyke
                                                               tracks, roads and                                                and an area around in
                                                               quarries may require                                             which traces of activities
                                                               an EIA determination.                                            associated with the
         Special                  Loch Shiel SPA                                                                                construction and
         Protected Area                                                                                                         occupation of this site may



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                                                               survive, as shown in red on                                                establishment of     and Douglas fir will
                                                               the accompanying map                                                       conifer woodland.    also be planted.
                                                               extract. It includes a              Landscape      Through the phased                           The upper
                                                               portion of the bed of the                          felling of clear fell                        commercial forest
                                                               loch.                                              coupes, the FES will                         margin will be
                                                                                                                  take the                                     gradually brought
                                                                                                                  opportunity to                               down to a lower
        The proposals of the FDP will seek to enhance the notifiable features where                               enhance the                                  level. The upper
        possible.                                                                                                 landscape                                    margins will be
                                                                                                                                                               allowed to fill in
                                                                                                                                                               naturally through
4.0 Analysis and Concept                                                                                                                                       succession. Birch
                                                                                                                                                               and Rowan are
4.1 Analysis of Constraints and Opportunities                                                                                                                  likely to dominate
                                                                                                                                                               here.
       The following table sets out all the site factors identified during the survey period and
described in the FDP brief, which are deemed to be significant in influencing the management       Biodiversity   To increase the
and long term vision for the forest. It identifies how these aspects influence the proposals by                   areas under native
highlighting the opportunities and constraints they create.                                                       woodland.
                                                                                                                  Protect and
                                                                                                                  enhance habitats
                                                                                                                  for key wildlife
                                                                                                                  species.
                                                                                                                  Integrate the
         Factor            Opportunity             Constraints              Concept
                                                                                                                  conifer woodlands
                                                                          Development
                                                                                                                  with the montane
Plantations on          Through the phased      Deer browsing. Red      The areas
                                                                                                                  and broadleaved
ancient wood land       felling of clear fell   deer and to a lesser    designated for
                                                                                                                  elements.
sites (PAWS).           coupes within the       extend roe deer will    natural
                                                                                                                  To improve forest
Section 6 of the        PAWS area. These        need to be              regeneration will be
                                                                                                                  structure and retain
UKWAS requires          coupes will be left     controlled to a level   monitored over a 5
                                                                                                                  some older forest
that all PAWS sites     to regenerate           that will allow the     year period. At that
                                                                                                                  elements.
are managed to          naturally with          natural                 time if
                                                                                                   Recreation     To maintain and         During periods       The FC are in full
maintain and            indigenous              regeneration of         supplementary
                                                                                                                  enhance the             when forest          support and will
enhance remnant         broadleaves from        native broadleaves      planting is required
                                                                                                                  recreational            operations are       encourage the use
features of ancient     local seed sources.     from neighbouring       it will be carried out
                                                                                                                  experience.             underway it may be   of the forest road
wood land sites.                                seed trees.
                                                                                                                                          necessary to         (PROW) by walkers,
Timber Production.      To maximise timber      Deer browsing. Red      The principal
                                                                                                                                          provide a short      cyclists and
                        production while        deer and to a lesser    conifer species will
                                                                                                                                          diversion from the   equestrians
                        meeting the             extend roe deer will    be Sitka spruce,
                                                                                                                                          forest road (PROW)
                        requirements of the     need to be              though where
                                                                                                                                          to eliminate any
                        UK Forestry             controlled to a level   conditions allow
                                                                                                                                          possible conflict.
                        Standards.              that will allow the     Norway spruce,
                                                successful              Scots pine, Larch



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                                                                                                 5.0 Forest Design Plan Proposals

                                                                                                 5.1 Management
4.2 Objectives of Management                                                                        The FDP for Loch Shiel has been designed in accordance with sound silvicultural,
            Conservation Restoration and expansion of native woodland of ecological values as      environmental and landscape design principals within the framework outlined by
             cited in statutory designations.                                                       the UK Forestry Standard and the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme and following
                                                                                                    the current edition of the Forest and Water Guidelines.
            Timber Production

            Maintenance and enhancement of landscape values                                        5.1.1    Clear Felling

            Maintenance of current levels of recreational provision.                               The majority of the FDP area will continue to be managed under a system of
                                                                                                    phased clear fell coupes. There will be a number of changes made to the shape
            Maintenance of known heritage features                                                 and phasing of some of the existing coupe shapes due to; 1. The onset of
                                                                                                    windblown. 2. The desire to eliminate hanging coupes as a result of the original
4.3 Concepts of the plan                                                                            coupe shapes. 3. The planned extension of the FDP area to the south west of the
         The Design Concepts forms the broad framework from which the detailed design of            existing plan.
         the forest can be structured around. It develops the initial ideas outlined in the
         design brief and reacts to any issues identified in the survey and analysis stages.
         The design concept is presented graphically in the Analysis and Concept maps.              5.1.2 Thinning/LISS

         The intention is to manage the forest in such away that it delivers the following          There is little opportunity for the implementation of low impact silviculture among
         broad objectives.                                                                          conifers due to the steep ground and high wind throw hazard. These factors
                                                                                                    militate against the ability to manipulate crop structure through thinning. By
                 The restoration of the PAWS areas will continue over the period of the plan.      contrast, many of the deeper rooting broadleaves on suitable soils and flatter
                                                                                                    ground may be thinned. Broadleaves on steeper sites may be suitable for minimum
                 A continued commitment to produce high quality timber and maximise                intervention.
                  return from a reduced productive area.
                                                                                                 5.2 Future habitats and species
                 An increased emphasis on planting premium conifer species such as                   The biggest influence on the future structure of the Loch Shiel FDP area is the
                  European larch and Douglas fir where site conditions dictate.                       planned restoration of approximately 246ha of PAWS. Once felling of the current
                                                                                                      rotation in these areas has taken place, the default prescription for these areas will be.
                 Enhancement of existing riparian woodlands.                                         To be left for 5 years after felling to allow native species to establish through natural
                                                                                                      regeneration. Monitoring of the regeneration levels will be done on an informal basis
                 A commitment to lower the upper margins of the commercial conifer                   during this time. After the initial five-year period annual monitoring of regeneration
                  plantations, making the forest sit more comfortably within the bold                 and vegetation levels will be carried out for a further two years. After such time, if
                  mountain landform.                                                                  regeneration of desirable species has been unsuccessful, then the district will embark
                                                                                                      on a programme of minimal ground preparation followed by enrichment planting.
                 To maintain and enhance the recreational experience.
                                                                                                      Out with the areas affected by PAWS the district will continue the proposed restocking
                                                                                                      plan of commercial conifer species. The predominant species will be Sitka spruce.
                                                                                                      Where soil conditions and lower exposure levels (DAMS) allow, premium conifers such




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         as Douglas fir and European larch will be planted. There will also be an element of
         Scots pine and Norway spruce to provide a more suitable habitat for red squirrels.

         Detailed restocking/regeneration proposals are outlined in the future habitats and
         species map.

5.3 Restructuring
     There are approximately 246 ha of PAWS within the plan boundary that was previously
     commercial conifer forest. It is an UKWAS requirement that all PAWS are to be restored
     to native woodland, either to full restoration (>90% site native species) or enhance
     status (ancient wood land still containing >10% non-native species)
     Coupe sizes and shape will be dictated by the natural rhythm and scale of the
     landscape. There will be a continuation of the break up of the even aged structure
     of the forest through the phased felling of coupes. Gullies of broadleaves will be
     retained and used as the basis for future coupe structure. The upper commercial
     conifer forest margin will be gradually brought down the hill to a lower level. The
     upper margin will be allowed to fill in naturally through succession. Birch and
     Rowan are likely to dominate in these areas.




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Appendix II: Tolerance Table
                   Adjustment to            Timing of                 Changes to            Wind throw            Adjustment to road lines
                   felling coupe            restocking                species               response
                   boundaries
FC approval        <10% of coupe size       Up to 7 planting          Change within         Where wind throw      Creation of turning points/loading bays.
not normally                                seasons after felling     species group         represents more       Departures of <100m either side of the predicted
required                                    (allowing fallow          e.g. Scots pine to    than 40% of the       centre line of the road/track in low sensitivity
                                            periods for hylobius)..   birch.                crop.                 areas.

                                                                      Non-native
                                                                      conifers e.g.
                                                                      Sitka spruce to
                                                                      Douglas fir,

                                                                      Non-native to
                                                                      native species
                                                                      (allowing for
                                                                      changes to
                                                                      facilitate Ancient
                                                                      woodland Policy).
Approval by        10 -15% of coupe         7 years+                  Change of coupe       Where wind throw      Departures of 100 metres in either direction from
exchange of        size                                               objective likely to   represents<40%        the centre of road in areas of low sensitivity.
letters and                                                           be consistent         and the coupe is in
map                                                                   with current          an area of low
                                                                      policy (e.g. from     sensitivity.
                                                                      productive to
                                                                      open, open to
                                                                      native species).
Approval by        >15% of coupe                                      Major change of       Where wind throw      As above depending on sensitivity
formal plan        size                                               objective likely to   represents <40% of
amendment                                                             be contrary to        the crop and total
                                                                      policy, e.g.          area affected >5ha
                                                                      native to non-
                                                                      native species,
                                                                      open to non-
                                                                      native.




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                                                                                               regeneration will take place within this coupe – particularly on the lower slopes. The middle
                                                                                               slope of the coupe is classified as PAWS and RT recommends planting SP here. As the site
Lochaber restock visit notes                                                                   doesn’t appear to have very high ecological potential, this could be done at a suitable density
                                                                                               for timber production. Some remnants are likely to be associated with the 2 patches of
June 22nd and 23rd                                                                             boulders/rock outcrops (see polygons on photo below for the approximate location of these).
                                                                                               A buffer (~ 10m) should be left around these if planting. SP of local origin should be used
                                                                                               (Donald Kennedy collected seed from Callop recently so there should be some plants
Present:
                                                                                               available, although it may be too early for deer numbers to have been reduced sufficiently –
Richard Thompson
                                                                                               Jim will be aware of issues regarding purchase of plants from local nurseries and framework
                                                                                               contracts with the main nurseries). Additionally, any ground preparation should minimise
The following sites were assessed for the district site objectives meeting and to give Henry
                                                                                               impacts to currently undisturbed soil profiles within the PAWS area.
Dobson an overview of the prospects for natural regeneration on felled areas in these blocks
in relation to PAWS restoration. Some of the issues below were discussed at the SO meeting
although more detail is provided here.

Glen Hurich and Loch Shiel site locations




Site 1 Glen Hurich
Felling operations are nearing completion on this coupe. A small amount of Scots pine has
been retained on the middle of the slope. There are modest seed sources of birch, rowan,
alder and ash to the north-west and, if deer impacts are low enough in the future, some



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LOCH SHIEL Forest Design Plan 2012-2022


Site 2 Loch Shiel restock coupe 82326

There are good to reasonable seed sources, predominantly of birch, around the edges of this
recently felled PAWS coupe. Deer impacts are high at present but if these can be reduced
whilst there is still minimal vegetation competition, natural regeneration should be good over
much of the coupe. If oak and hazel plants of local seed sources can be obtained, it would
be good to plant small groups in drier sloping ground to enhance biodiversity. There is scope
for moderate to high ecological potential in this coupe owing to rich remnants around the
edges associated with burns and crags and to the fact that there are a substantial number of
boulders and rock outcrops across the site (see photo). The latter together with the presence
of wet hollows and flats makes this site unsuitable for growing broadleaves at close spacing
for timber production as does the fact that this site has moderate to high potential for
restoration.

                                                                                                 Basal shoots of alder very heavily browsed last winter – a sure sign that deer impacts
                                                                                                 are high here at present.

                                                                                                 Site 3 Above Gorstanvorran

                                                                                                 The Native Woodland Discussion Group visited this site in 2009. Observations were made of
                                                                                                 high deer impacts at the time and these continue over much of the site. A small amount of
                                                                                                 birch regeneration appears to be “getting away” at the bottom of the slope but the majority
                                                                                                 is being repeatedly browsed back each winter. In terms of stocking density, there is good
                                                                                                 stocking of birch (well in excess of 2,500 seedlings/ha) with rare oak seedlings. There is still
                                                                                                 scope for continued recruitment over much of this site as conditions are dry and fairly acidic
                                                                                                 (therefore less competition from grasses and ruderal species). If deer impacts can be
                                                                                                 substantially reduced, it would be desirable to enrich regeneration with a small number of
                                                                                                 oak and hazel plants (if of local origin) along both sides of the coupe close to the water
                                                                                                 courses.




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Site 4 Small coupe above the road to the east of Gorstanvorran (upper half PAWS)                 Site 5 – flat rushy area below road to loch shore with alder and wet birch wood
                                                                                                 either side (“Other Roy” (i.e. not classified as PAWS) on AWI)
The lower slope here has developed rank vegetation (rush dominated) and there are few
prospects for successful natural regeneration beyond the scatter of willow seedlings present.    There is scattered birch regeneration, increasing toward the WSW edge of the coupe. This is
Rushes dominate this site due to disturbance of the seed bank and soils are not hugely wet.      possibly due to prevailing wind direction and seed dispersal. Planting of local provenance
However, in terms of native species, they are too wet for sessile oak and too poor for ash. If   alder is recommended – in groups on the wetter areas. Although alder is very unpalatable,
it were possible to obtain some pedunculate oak (there are some stands around Sunart that        impacts on basal shoots indicate that deer numbers are too high here for planting under
George Peterken considers to be semi-natural) this species could be planted on the drier         current conditions. There are still a few niches for birch and willow regeneration where brash
parts of the lower bank. Otherwise, choice of native tree species is restricted to common        mats are breaking down and there is healthy vegetation.
alder. The upper slope is more freely draining and more acidic. This has some birch
regeneration and there should be sufficient seed sources to allow it to regenerate
successfully if deer numbers can be substantially reduced in the future.




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                                                                                                   Site 7 Large clear fell below forest road, above bay and small islands (no status on
                                                                                                   the AWI)

                                                                                                   There is a deep thatch of dead grass here and abundant rush. This site is drier than site 5,
                                                                                                   with Yorkshire fog dominating large areas. There was very little evidence of natural
                                                                                                   regeneration here and some planting will be necessary to get woodland established. For
                                                                                                   native woodland, Sessile oak is recommended where Yorkshire fog is abundant. Common
                                                                                                   alder may be more appropriate nearer the shore although this part of the site was not
                                                                                                   visited. Given that this site is not a PAWS, that natural regeneration is unlikely now that a
                                                                                                   dense sward of vegetation has developed due to high deer impacts (woody species being
                                                                                                   preferentially browsed) and that access and terrain are good, a more intensive approach to
                                                                                                   establishment may be appropriate here.




Birch seedling in a less competitive niche on the edge of a brash mat



Site 6 above forest road from site 5 (“Other Roy” (i.e. not classified as PAWS) on
AWI)

There is a scatter of birch and willow regeneration here. Seed sources are mainly limited to
the edge of the coupe. Consider planting Sessile oak on drier parts of this site (subject to
reduction in deer numbers discussed elsewhere). Whilst there is not high ecological potential
here, planting at close density in pursuit of quality timber seems unrealistic given the terrain
and remoteness of the site for regular and intensive maintenance (e.g. pruning oak,
respacing areas of birch). It seems more sensible to plant groups of oak on the most
suitable micro-sites and let birch natural regeneration provide competition to promote apical
dominance, only respacing birch from around oaks at a later date where they are severely
overtopping and shading them out. This general approach was discussed with Bill Mason
(FR’s long-standing silviculturist at NRS) at a recent DF planning meeting. It seems to be a
reasonable balance of inputs and likely outputs with the potential for some quality oak timber
in the long-term but avoiding very high expenditure through close planting across the site
where natural regeneration is easy to achieve.




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Site 8 Large coupe above the road towards the north-east edge of the forest (no                   Conclusions and suggested strategy
status on the AWI)
                                                                                                  The two main issues in this site are deer and competitive vegetation. There is a large seed
Similarly to site 7, this is not a PAWS. There is very good natural regeneration of birch, some   rain from adjacent native woodland (remnants along burns and the loch-side) and natural
of which is establishing successfully despite moderate to high deer impacts (which seem to        regeneration is relatively straightforward given low enough deer impacts in the window
be slightly lower towards the bottom of the bank for some reason). There is also some             before rank, competitive vegetation develops following clear felling.
rowan and willow regeneration although most of this appears to have been browsed last
winter. Seed sources are at the bottom of the slope and seedlings of birch begin to become        RT has discussed deer control with Kevin Peace and John Jackson and understands that
frequent as opposed to abundant about half way up the coupe and only occasional two thirds        negotiations are ongoing with Conna Glen Estate to co-operate on limiting the ingress of deer
of the way. There are also frequent to occasional Sitka spruce seedlings on this bank. There      from the neighbouring estate land. If this is achievable, following a period to let John
are abundant niches for additional recruitment of seedlings (i.e. no vegetation or an open        Macdonald substantially reduce the deer population within the ring fence, RT recommends
heathy sward). A range of options are possible here but it seems sensible to utilise the          that there should be a campaign to get more palatable tree species established at the
natural regeneration, perhaps respacing at a later date to develop birch dominated and            densities and locations suggested within this note. Timing will hopefully fit well with other
spruce dominated patches                                                                          activities to prepare for this (i.e. local seed collection and nursery production of oak, hazel,
                                                                                                  alder and ash given a good mast year for each species). If possible, further felling here
                                                                                                  (particularly of PAWS) should be delayed until deer numbers are very low to provide the
                                                                                                  longest vegetation free window for natural regeneration of less competitive trees.

                                                                                                  The alternative approach would be to put up deer fences around all felled areas. This would
                                                                                                  be an expensive approach given the number and size of coups, the fact that most are
                                                                                                  bisected by the forest road and the terrain involved. Additionally, adjacent native woodland
                                                                                                  would greatly benefit from reduced deer impacts, allowing colonisation of the upper forest
                                                                                                  margin and a more natural transition onto the open hill. Even if small fences are required (if
                                                                                                  co-operation/agreement from Conna Glen is not possible), the amount of advance natural
                                                                                                  regeneration within most areas suggests that intensive establishment would be a waste of
                                                                                                  resources.

                                                                                                  Monitoring of some of these felled areas is recommended to assess the change in deer
                                                                                                  impacts and time the enrichment planting of palatable species. The simple monitoring
                                                                                                  method in the grazing toolbox could be used here to assess changes to the level of browsing
                                                                                                  on seedlings and palatable plants such as bramble and hard fern.

                                                                                                  Richard Thompson

                                                                                                  28th June 2010



                    Half way up the bank in site 8




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