Million acorns to grow woods

Forest Enterprise Scotland staff collect acorns on felt mats for future planting in Galloway
Forest Enterprise Scotland staff collect acorns on felt mats for future planting in Galloway

Around 1.2 million acorns have been collected as part of a project to expand and link Galloway Forest Park’s ancient oakwoods from the hill tops to the coast.

Over the next few years, Forest Enterprise Scotland will plant the acorns around Loch Trool and the Cree Valley.

With the help of natural regeneration and other careful planting, the oakwoods will, in time, be linked up, creating a large and vibrant habitat.

Establishing such a large oakwood habitat is not an easy job in Galloway as acorn crops are particularly unpredictable. In 2013, the last time a collection took place, only about 1800 saplings were produced for planting, however, this year’s bumper crop should grow around 600,000 young trees.

Gareth Ventress, Environment Forester with Forest Enterprise Scotland said: “Early in the autumn we identified that we were in for a bumper crop of acorns so we began planning for collections within Galloway Forest Park.

“We also decided to get help from other staff throughout Scotland and asked them to collect acorns from other native oakwoods. The Cree Valley Community Woodland Trust, Borders Forest Trust and Moffat Community Woodlands all assisted in the big collection too in order to further native woodland expansion across south Scotland. By combining acorns collected from across Galloway Forest Park, we increase the genetic diversity of the trees linking the remnant woodlands.”