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Rare Scottish pines in Inverewe experiment

Photograph of Scots pine trees
The experiment will help assess the future prospects and biodiversity value of these important forests.

Trees originating from 21 native pinewoods across Scotland are being used in a unique experiment at Inverewe Gardens in Wester Ross.

The young pine trees have been grown at Inverewe from seeds collected from sites that are remnants of the ancient and vast Caledonia pine forest that once covered much of the north and west of the country. Much of the original forest has long been destroyed by felling.

Visitors to Inverewe Gardens, managed by the National Trust for Scotland, will notice new fencing to the west of the road on the northern side of Poolewe which has been installed to protect the young trees from deer.

The trees being planted will now form part of a long-term experiment which will track them until they are fully grown to test how they respond to the mild but damp climate in Wester Ross. It is the start of an exciting research initiative by the James Hutton Institute.

An identical experiment, using seedlings grown from the same mother trees from all over Scotland, will be replicated in Aberdeenshire, where the climate is sunnier but cooler and drier.

Scientists say they have little idea how the trees from the different parts of Scotland will respond to the changing climate. They are particularly keen to see how the other aspects of biodiversity that is naturally associated with pine trees, such as the insects and fungi, will vary according to where the trees originally came from.

The experiment will help assess the future prospects and biodiversity value of these important forests.

Dr Glenn Iason of the James Hutton Institute, the project leader, said: “I am hugely grateful to the staff of the National Trust for Scotland, Inverewe Gardens, for helping to care for the saplings for the last four years and for the opportunity to plant them on the Inverewe Estate.

“I would very much like to still be alive when the trees are fully grown to see the benefits of the work!”

Dr Iason said he was keen for the experiment to provide a platform for further research and education, and would like to hear from anyone who might be able to use the experiment for these purposes.

Notes to editors

Inverewe Gardens
One of the most beautiful places in Scotland, this 50-acre garden was created in 1862. It is an oasis of exotic plants, bursting with vibrant colour, thanks to the warm currents of the Gulf Stream that flows along the west Scottish coastline.

Rhododendrons from the Himalayas, eucalypts from Tasmania, olearia from New Zealand and other species from such far-flung places as Chile and South Africa, all flourish at Inverewe, in a display that changes with the seasons.

As well as the Garden there are more than 2,000 acres which are managed for conservation including the Pinewood Trail, Inverewe Trail and Kernsary Path. At the edge of Loch Ewe is a Wildlife Hide full of interesting facts and interpretation where seals, otters, divers and a rich variety of wildlife can be seen.

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Printed from /news/rare-scottish-pines-inverewe-experiment on 28/11/23 12:40:17 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.