Craigends Community Woodland
Eadha Enterprises is creating a new community woodland near Fenwick in East Ayrshire with support from Community Windpower.
A 2 hectare site will be planted with productive native species including aspen, silver birch and alder.
Eadha has designed the woodland so that is will not only enhance the landscape and provide new wildlife habitat but also potentially provide a future economic resource for the local community in the form of biomass.
We are keen for this woodland to become a genuine community resource, offering the potential for future community management and sustainable use, including the harvesting of woodfuel.
Eadha has engaged with a number of local groups and organisations who we hope will become involved in the tree planting. We will also be offering opportunities for work experience for local unemployed people.
Short Rotation Forestry Trial
The site has been laid out as a Short Rotation Forestry (SRF) Trial. Three productive native species have been selected - silver birch, aspen and alder which have been planted in blocks at 2500/Ha. In one block all the three species were intimately mixed.
This site also includes a replicated clone trial to test the performance of five Galloway and Five Arran Clones. Design input was provided by Richard Ennos at University of Edinburgh to whom we are grateful.
Clones planted in Replicated Trial
Natural Protection Trial
Some of the site is unfenced and there is some roe deer browsing pressure in the area. Eadha is exploiting this to test natural protection techniques to assess their relative efficacy.
A combination of clump planting and thorny shrub protection has been utilised to enhance the standard SRF planting. All trees have been protected with vole guards only.
Thorny Scrub Protection
Scrub protection comprises the use of key plants which are relatively unpalatable and can present a physical barrier to other more palatable tree species, in this case Holly, Dog Rose and Hawthorn which have been planted in three separate trials. The theory is that the scrub would form protective cover against deer around the more palatable productive trees. In the longer term the developing thorny thickets will provide an attractive landscape feature and a rich wildlife habitat.
This method is based on the principle that a dense clump of trees can act as a barrier to herbivores, by providing sacrificial or less palatable species on the perimeter protecting more palatable species towards the centre. In this case sacrificial willow rods have been planted amongst relatively unpalatable alder with relatively palatable aspen in the centre. The density of planting is 40,000/Ha. The clump can also provide some physical shelter from the elements.