BCT has carried out a wide range of improvements and surveys in the Commonty Pinewoods since 1999. BCT has a long term Forest Plan for the Commonty Pinewoods 2011-30, which was approved by Forestry Commission Scotland and is currently being implemented by BCT.
The Forest of Birse Commonty is thought to date from at least medieval times and, over history, there has been much dispute over land use rights within its boundaries.
In 1999, Birse Community Trust (BCT) and the Estates of Birse and Ballogie entered into an agreement over the management of an area known as the North Hill (c.528 ha) and that land continues to be managed under this arrangement. Funding from the Millenium Forest for Scotland Trust was the catalyst for this and helped to establish BCT. The North Hill Managent Agreement, combined with Ballogie Estate voluntarily surrendering its corresponding IACS registration, enabled BCT to enter into contracts with the Forestry Commission and secure grants supporting the expansion of the pinewood and the planting of thousands of native broadleaves.
Birse Estate owns the solum of the Commonty and both Birse and Ballogie Estates continue to own and actively exercise the sporting and grazing rights. As part of the North Hill Management Agreement, the Estates agreed to exercise these rights in a manner which would not be detrimental to the reestablishment of the native pinewoods.
The pinewoods include a major part of Scotland’s most easterly surviving Native Caledonian Pinewood. Since 1999, the area of established woodland has increased significantly through natural regeneration and by planting tens of thousands of pines of local genetic origin. Birse Community Trust’s (BCT) aim here is to conserve and improve this nationally important habitat.
NATIVE BROADLEAF TREES
BCT has also planted over 23,000 native broadleaf trees of primarily local genetic origin, along the River Feugh and its tributaries in the pinewood area. BCT’s aim in doing so has been to restore riparian woodland and the broadleaf component of the pinewood.