BIODIVERSITY......BRING IT ON.....SPOT THE CHANGES!!! 
TIMBER !!!!!

Firewood loads for sale - please contact 01463 861315 or alan@westerl.freeserve.co.uk for details


YOU WILL NOTICE LOTS OF WINDBLOWN TREES IN AND AROUND THE FOREST. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE TREES ARE UNSTABLE IN SOME BLOCKS SO DO NOT PARK, WALK OR RIDE UNDER THEM. DO YOUR OWN RISK BENEFIT ANALYSIS OR CALL US AND FIND OUT IF THE WEATHER ON THE TOP IS TOO WILD OR FORESTERS ARE CHAINSAWING BESIDE THE PATHS.




The cleared area will provide us with an opportunity to replant with a native tree arboretum, so it might look a bit of a disaster area at the moment, but see it as a view of the Leitire , not seen for 25 years, see it as a fair few tonnes of firewood, as a forest floor ready to blossom thanks to increased light levels and as an accessible block in which we can work with our regular visiting groups - doing conservation tasks and hopefully also supporting them to develop skills for life and the workplace.






Those who have visited recently will be aware that we have been harvesting a lot of timber.....most of it in a planned and carefully managed way but also, around the easy access paths, there has been a lot of windblow in the thinned lodge pole. Euroforest have completed the thinning operation on either side of McLarty's road - the eastern fringe of amenity plantings and scots pine. If they stand up to the prevailing winds these will be lovely, diverse woods in the future.
There are some enlightening benefits to this quick felling fix but please be aware of forestry operations, Andrew working hard to clear hanging trees and then forwarding the timber to the roadside. We are a working forest - not just a recreational woodland!

The income from the forest operations has been ring fenced for replanting and fencing.





Another environmental benefit of thinning monoculture plantation is the greater diversity of ground flora, invertebrate, bird and mammal species. People have asked why standing dead wood is left here and there - "Making the place look untidy!" This is because it provides perches for raptors predating on small rodents, nest holes for little owls and also a habitat for assorted larvae - a feast for woodpeckers and the like. However woodpeckers are doing rather too well - fledging healthy broods and causing expensive damage to SSE poles (see photo above) not to mention carved signs and both of the classroom buildings!



Our scarecrows large and small went off site from the Kew Garden / Big Lottery Grow -wild flower seedling patch to the Belladrum Festival with the Highland Environment Network message. We need to remember THERE'S NO PLANET B - so we must take care of what we've got already.

Over the past two summers we have had a pollinator research project recording wild flowers, weighing bee colonies, setting pan traps and bumble bee "hotels".....all information will be collated to support scientists in their search for reasons why our insect pollinators are in such decline.

http://www.agriland.leeds.ac.uk/about/ProjectaimB.php


Another aspect of investigating, recording and sustaining the local environment has bee some activity down at the loch. A few small groups could be seen enjoying a day on the Loch shore fishing for brown trout with barbless hooks and tidying up the mess others have made. This opportunity was made available through Highland LEADER 2007 - 13 funding the Life Cycles Project and was appreciated by everybody.

NEW POND

This Spring, before the midgies get a grip, we hope to further improve the edge of the small burn ( ditch) we use for pond dipping. At present we have a narrow stretch of water to study and know how full of life it is, but to ensure the on-shore identification teams have a wider area to sit on when examining the contents of nets and trays, we have built a dipping platform and planted some native bog plants and trees. This project has involved a number of our regular groups, building employability skills and will help improve the biodiversity of the area around the burn. It was generously funded by Highland Council Strategic Employability Projects Fund and the BIG Lottery Community Wildlife Fund.




LISS ..... WHAT'S THIS LISS GOT TO DO WITH FIREWOOD PRODUCTION?

Thanks to our continuous cover thinning, carefully carried out by Andrew and ably advised by Dietrich, we have seasoned firewood available at 60 per cubic metre, plus 8 per trailer load (1 or 2 or 3 cubic metres)delivered within 10 mile radius of Abriachan. BUY WHEN IT'S DRY!
Place orders with Alan Milton , Wester Ladycairn. 01463 861315


WATCH OUT - AMPHIBIANS ABOUT !

Take care when you are walking around the paths because we have once more become toad central. Try not to handle them because our salty skin causes them irritation and most definitely try not to tread on them because their lives have only just begun..... and one in every 5 is that prince you were looking for!

NEVER HEARD OF SUPER SITKA ? DIETRICH HAS!
Have a look at the restock blocks on the west side of the Achpopuli road and notice how well they are growing. This will be our most productive area of forest - harvested in time for the next generation of timber clad affordable housing - money in the bank of the future stewards of Abriachan.
People have commented on how untidy the windrow / brash piles are between the spruce - these will form the access racks of the forest once rotted down and in the meantime are providing excellent habitats for invertebrates that, in turn, are the food for an ever increasing bird population.
BIODIVERSITY IS NEVER TIDY.


TREE O'CLOCK 5th December 2009 - 47 people joined in the record breaking tree planting event. This led to 947 scots pine, downy birch, alder and willows being planted in an area of restock. Three cheers to every one who took part - the forest will look so much better and be so much healthier after your efforts.

Less Intensive Silvicultural System - that's what been happening in the Abriachan Forest for the past few years and the improvements are certainly beginning to show.
The ground flora in the areas of the forest which have been thinned is much more varied than that under a dense canopy of lodgepole pine or even denser spruce. This is quite obvious on either side of the paths around the Ark tree house and the Forest Classroom.



Pupils from Charleston have begun a survey in their own area of LISS and have set up baseline linear and quadrat surveys in the woodland. They will keep recording tree girth, height and ground flora and fauna species over the next 10 years and be able to demonstrate that there is a marked improvement in the biodiversity of the forest.



RIVOULICH EXCLOSURES - LOOKING GREAT
This misty photo shows how well the 10m square exclosures are growing in the clear fell area at the Rivoulich mires. The mixed native trees growing inside the fences have now started to seed outside and young trees of birch, rowan, eared willow and bird cherry can be found.

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