Woodland & forest

All semi-natural woodland in Britain is protected in some way. A licence is required to fell more than

5 cubic metres of any woodland within a single year, and clearance of broadleaved woodland, without restocking is not generally permitted. In addition, an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for certain forestry operations.

In the Cairngorms National Park about 17% of the land cover is woodland, which is similar to Scotland as a whole. However the Park has a greater proportion of semi-natural woodland than Scotland as a whole, containing 12.5% of Scotland's semi-natural woodland and only 5.6% of its plantation forest. A large part of the semi-natural woodland is contained in the National Park, particularly in Strathspey and Deeside.

The high proportion of woodland cover and its connectivity and the 'ancient' nature of some of the woodlands together mean that the Park contains some of the most important woodland areas in Britain. Many woodland specialist species have a limited ability to cross open ground and some species like the capercaillie and red squirrel require extensive forest networks. Under the EC Habitats Directive, 12 [glossary:441|Special Area of Conservation (SAC)]Special Areas of Conservation[/glossary] have been designated in the Cairngorms National Park for their woodland biodiversity interest.

Information about the different woodland types discussed in this website is taken from the chapter 'Forests and Woodlands' by Jeanette Hall in the book 'The Nature of the Cairngorms – diversity in a changing environment' (edited by Philip Shaw and Des Thompson, SNH 2006).