Study could help recreate ancient woods

Jun 30, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers from the University and the Forestry Commission studied remnants of the ancient Caledonian pine forests in the Scottish Highlands.

They hoped to build a clearer picture of how wild pine forests grow.

Scientists used computer models to work out how best to manage the transformation of even-aged, planted into wild woodland, with trees of a more natural variety of ages and sizes.

They found that frequent, limited thinning of a pine plantation will transform it into a wild twice as quickly as simply letting it grow wild.

Forests covered much of Scotland after the last ice age.

"This research will be a valuable aid to plantation owners who want to help their forests develop the characteristics of Caledonian pine wildwood for the landscape and benefits that this can provide," said Dr. Bob McIntosh, Director of Forestry Commission Scotland.

Many trees were lost when the growing population began to use forests for fuel and timber and to make space for crops, livestock and settlements.

Now only a few small remnants of the original ancient forests remain, and a number of plant and animal species that once lived in native forests have disappeared from the landscape.

Researchers hope that a better understanding of how forests react to different intensities and types of management intervention will be of benefit.

The new insight will enable authorities to facilitate the return of natural woodland and benefit the species that thrive in it.

The study was published in the journals Ecological Modelling and .

It was supported by the Forestry Commission, the Scottish Government and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

"We are now able to better understand how natural forests are shaped, and how our wild woodlands could develop in future. Our findings will support the conversion of managed wooded plantations into forests like those that existed many hundreds of years ago," said Professor Graeme Ackland, School of Physics and Astronomy.

Explore further: MEPs back plans to slash use of plastic shopping bags

Provided by University of Edinburgh

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scots Pine shows its continental roots

Sep 09, 2010

By studying similarities in the genes of Scots Pine trees, scientists have shown that the iconic pine forests of Highland Scotland still carry the traces of the ancestors that colonised Britain after the end ...

Aspen's 'dandelion' habits challenge mountain evergreens

Feb 22, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The face of high-elevation evergreen forests in Western Canada could be drastically altered as a combination of climate change, human and natural disturbances is making spruce and pine forests ...

Insects continue to threaten forests across Colorado

Feb 16, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Although the mountain pine beetle epidemic has largely run its course in north-central Colorado, insect and disease activity continued to stress the state’s forests in 2010.

Recommended for you

Researchers question emergency water treatment guidelines

13 hours ago

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) recommendations for treating water after a natural disaster or other emergencies call for more chlorine bleach than is necessary to kill disease-causing pathogens ...

European climate at the +2 C global warming threshold

15 hours ago

A global warming of 2 C relative to pre-industrial climate has been considered as a threshold which society should endeavor to remain below, in order to limit the dangerous effects of anthropogenic climate change.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Melting during cooling period

(Phys.org) —A University of Maine research team says stratification of the North Atlantic Ocean contributed to summer warming and glacial melting in Scotland during the period recognized for abrupt cooling ...