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Abbey St Bathans – Scotland


General information on the forests of the Abbey St Bathans.

Forest communityA patchwork of small stands with predominantly coniferous single-aged, single-species sub-compartments (0.5 - 1 ha) on valley sides and as shelter-belts on the hill-tops, and ancient oak woodlands on the steepest slopes.
Total forest area278 ha, divided over:
– 210 ha of conifer dominated stands
– 22 ha of ancient oak woodlands (of which 15 ha is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest)
– 16 ha of recently established native woodland to expand and connect the ancient woodland sites
– 30 ha of open land and set asides within larger woodland areas
Main management type– Transition from clearcutting to continuous cover forestry with small gaps (<0.5 ha) and single tree selection of the conifer dominated stands
– Based on the yield class, thinning every 4–5 years, slightly over the annual increment rate to bring stocking down
– Steady small-scale regeneration (<0.25 ha) of the ancient oak woodlands
Standing volume– Averages 550 m³/ha in the conifer stands.
– 75 m³/ha in the ancient oak woodland
Annual increment– Averages roughly 3 m³/ha in the conifer stands
– 1–2 m³/ha in the ancient oak woodland
Annual harvest volume– 700 m³/year in the conifer stands
– 0 m³/ha/year in the ancient oak woodland. Plans to allow for more light in some areas to enhance regeneration
OwnershipPrivate family owned and managed
Climate– approx. 7.7 °C mean annual temperature;
– approx. 760 mm mean average precipitation
AltitudeBetween 120–250 meters above sea level
Soil and geology– Brown earth soils of moderate fertility with forests planted on the poorer and steeper sites.
– The top soil is thin, resting on bedrock made up of Gala group greywack – rock fragments of hard sandstone.
Protected area– Most of the 22 ha of ancient oak woodland is designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
– Smaller self-imposed retention areas of open land and edges in woodlands are maintained for diversity and conservation. They amount to about 32 ha in total.
Protective functionNone