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Caledonian Forest Information Centre
Dwarf Birch surveys on Dundreggan

In 2007 we commissioned botanists Ben and Alison Averis to undertake a vegetation survey of the Dundreggan estate and they noted the special interest of the higher ground for one of the montane scrub species, dwarf birch Betula nana :

“Betula nana …. is extraordinarily common and widespread in the study area, finding a home in a wide range of vegetation types from wet bogs to damp heaths and from soligenous mires to acid grasslands. We have never seen so much of this species in so small an area .… the area where it occurs is of immense value for nature conservation”.

During the summer of 2008 Mark Richards spent 10 weeks roaming around the heights above Glen Moriston, surveying the dwarf birch in more detail. The survey covered a 21 square kilometre area focussed primarily on Dundreggan but also covering some land on neighbouring estates.

The aim was to map the distribution of dwarf birch and collect data to understand more about the species’ ecology and current condition. Monitoring work was also carried out in two mountain woodland exclosures to see how the vegetation is developing after being fenced off from deer browsing some years ago. See Dwarf Birch survey in Glen Moriston.

Biodiversity Action Plan species associated with the dwarf birch on Dundreggan include the ring ouzel Turdus torquatus and the micro-moth Swammerdamia passerella.

Further survey work is being undertaken during 2009 as part of the national AMWOOD project.

Mick Drury


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