Bishopton Mixed Aspen/Conifer Trials
Eadha is conducting some mixed aspen/conifer trials at a large post industrial site near Bishopton. We were commissioned by the site operator to undertake restocking of six harvested conifer blocks. The operator was keen that the woodland was both productive and yet also served as a high amenity resource for a proposed future woodland park. Eadha submitted a proposal, now adopted, which saw each block being planted with various conifers mixed with aspen in 3:1 line mixtures with fringe broadleaves and alternative conifers based on our Mixed Aspen-Spruce Mixed Silviculture Report. These included:
- Sitka Spruce/Aspen
- Norway Spruce/Aspen
- Scots Pine/Aspen
Fringe conifer species included:
- Silver Fir
- Douglas Fir
- Grand Fir
- Douglas Fir
The blocks would be managed on a Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) basis to minimise disturbance but enable selective thinning and ongoing management. Some aspen rows were planted with selected productive clones to compare performance.
One of the blocks comprised of 100% mixed broadleaves and the remaining conifer/aspen blocks had sigificant proportions of fringe mixed broadleaves. A range of Scottish native broadleaved species were selected including:
- English Oak
- Bird Cherry
- Crab Apple
- Wych Elm
However in addition other more southern broadleaved species were also planted including:
- Norway Maple
This approach was taken for a number of reasons. Firstly they are attractive trees in their own right and potentially good timber trees too. Climate change means that more southern species found in the South of England and in the continent will increasingly be more suited to the conditions in Scotland. The greater the species mix, the more resilient the woodland and these species are also more shade tolerant than a lot of the native Scottish species meaning that they are more likely to regenerate under the mature forest canopy. They therefore lend themselves to a CCF system. This approach was based on the model presented by Jim Knight in his paper A Forest for the Future.
Tree planting and management at this site is ongoing and we welcome the help of volunteers to make this a reality.