Friday, 19 September 2014

Work experience with the Borders Forest Trust

My name is Annabel Scott and I am a fourth year student at Glasgow University studying BSc Environmental Stewardship.  I have joined Lynn at The Borders Forest Trust this week to give her a hand and see what exactly goes on at BFT.

The first day consisted of hiking into the hills of Carrifran Wildwood with Lynn and four volunteers. 



We then proceeded to spray 1000 bamboo cane stakes with bright colours (in order to see them in the long grass).  These canes were placed randomly on a section of hill (550m altitude) to mark where the new trees will be planted.  Lynn followed on behind us, spot spraying round each cane with glyphosate herbicide.  This is necessary to remove all the current vegetation that would be competition for the tree seedlings.
                                                          


Our next three days were up in Corehead on the Tweedhope site.  Lynn and I began the annual tree beat up surveys, which are important as they establish roughly how many trees need to be planted in order to bring the average number of trees up to the level they were at when first planted.  This survey required that fifty points were to be assessed randomly across the hillside, using the Nearest Neighbour Method (Pepper, 1998).
                                                           


Number of trees, tree species, number emerging from the tree guard and number browsed or dead were noted.  Additional remarks were made for trees that were being outcompeted by grass inside their guards and whether or not kerbing (another form of herbicide) was possibly required in that area. 

We had some serious climbs at some points in our day:
                                                            


But it was all worth it in the end when we got all fifty plots done and the results all typed up.  We encountered more spiders than I have ever seen in one day!  However, we saw some nicer animals too, such as a tiny shrew I rescued from a tree guard, and this common frog:
                                                            


Thank you for having me with you all week Lynn and I am sure I will be back to visit sometime in the near future!


Annabel Scott (Student Volunteer)

References:
Pepper, H. (1998). Nearest Neighbour Method for Quantifying Wildlife Damage to Trees in Woodland, Edinburgh, Forestry Commission FCPN1.

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