Biodiversity Challenge Fund - Update

April 22, 2020

Despite snow in February and COVID 19 outbreak in March our intrepid contractors managed to complete all fencing works, and are about to complete all planting works for the season.

It has been fortunate that tree planting in isolated upland areas has been possible by single or small scale 'household' teams of contractors, and this work has therefore carried on, under strict adherence to social distancing protocols. As a result, the following works have been completed, funded by SNH's Biodiversity Challenge Fund:

  • 2000 trees were planted in a newly fenced generous water margin buffer along the mainstem Dee nr Crathie
  • 4500 trees have been planted in a newly deer fenced 10ha compartment flanking both banks of the River Muick
  • 450 trees have been planted in 15 new small tree enclosures along the banks of the Muick
  • 2150 trees have been planted to increase tree cover along sections of bank on the Gairn, Clunie and mainstem Dee
  • 1200 trees have (almost, in progress!) been planted in 40 new small tree enclosures along the banks of the Allt Cul, an important tributary to the Feardar (to be completed end April)

In addition to the BCF funded works,

  • a further 900 trees in 30 small enclosures will be planted along the Allt Cul, partly sponsored by kind donations to the RDT resulting from the Living River events at the start of the season (further opportunities for sponsoring a small tree enclosure are available!)
  • 1500 trees, originally ear-marked for volunteer events, which unfortunately had to be cancelled, have been planted by the Habitat team (well, Colin) along banks of the Gairn and Dee
  • the mob planting trial of 11000 alders in inaccessible areas along upper tributaries to the Muick has been finished
  • ~6000 willow begs have been harvested and planted by the Habitat team (well, Colin) along banks of the Clunie and Muick.

That means over 23,000 trees have been planted by DDSFB/RDT this season. Our thanks go to the estates hosting these tree planting locations, in particular Balmoral, Glenmuick and Invercauld, as well as several farmers kindly hosting further tree planting along their riverbanks. Another huge thanks to the Woodland Trust, who kindly supplied the majority of trees planted.

In addition, AWPR funds have been utilised to fence off several unprotected stretches of watercourse to prevent erosion, provide alternative waterings so livestock do not have to access the banks, and allow bankside vegetation to flourish. Some of these locations may be utilised for tree planting opportunities in the future. Main locations for these have been a stretch along the mainstem Dee near Ballater and Potarch, as well as short sections along the Cattie, Murley and tributary of the Bo Burn.

Farmers are currently busy implementing buffer strip fencing works grant aided by Scot Gov through the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme funds, through 7 successful applications drawn up by the Habitat team.


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