Before Borders Forest Trust was established only 0.26% (1200ha) of the land in the Scottish Borders was covered in native (ancient and semi-natural) woodland. This is one of the lowest native woodland covers in the whole of Scotland. The Borders landscape was once predominantly native woodland, including several historic forest areas such as the Ettrick Forest. Now after millennia of deforestation, only small remnants and single solitary trees are all that remain of these forests.
Over the years the Trust has developed projects focusing on regenerating these ancient woodlands, creating riparian (riverside) woodlands, conserving and expanding juniper scrub, and planting new native woodlands. All of these projects contribute towards the restoration of the native woodland habitat in the south of Scotland.
Working in partnership with local landowners and farmers, Borders Forest Trust has now created more new native woodland by planting and natural regeneration across over 50 sites and manages ancient and semi-natural woodland.
Borders Forest Trust’s Woodland Habitats team work with private landowners and tenants to create new native woodlands of a variety of sizes. The process is a lengthy one, from the initial conversations with the landowner, to development of the plans incorporating a huge number of topics such as landscaping, archaeology, important biodiversity, neighbour consultation and securing the funding through to the delivery of the planting and the follow on maintenance.
We create new woodlands for Black Grouse, a rare and elusive upland bird. Black Grouse are considered a keystone species which means habitat created for them also benefits a huge number of other species. Black grouse have benefited through more traditional woodland creation as well as areas of more open tree planting accessible to stock.
Border Tree Planting Grant
The Woodland Habitats team are also delivering the new Border Tree Planting Grant (BTPG) Scheme in conjunction with Tweed Forum. The BTPG is a three year fully funded planting scheme starting in May 2015 that aims to fill the niche of very small scale native woodland creation of areas that are less than 0.25ha.
The Woodland Habitats team work with our Talla & Gameshope, Corehead and Wildwood sites, alongside the Steering Groups and Borders Forest Trust’s Ecological Advisory Group.
The Ettrick Marshes
The Ettrick Marshes (owned by FCS and managed by BFT) is a mosaic of woodland, wetland, grassland and open water habitats of national conservation importance. Borders Forest Trust is working to restore and manage these floodplain habitats.
The Ettrick Marshes are a haven for wildlife supporting many mammals and insects, over 250 species of plant and more than 80 species of birds.
Photo by James Short