Felling of trees in Bennachie area is near to completion

Aberdeenshire Foresters are near to completing their tree felling operations around the Bennachie Centre and surrounding area.

The work involved both clearfelling - totally removing the trees from an area - and thinning. Part of the work was to take out some Lodgepole pine trees that were infected with a fungus, Dothistroma needle blight.

A spokesman said: “We try to thin as much of our forests as possible to improve the overall quality of the timber. But also, particularly in important areas like Bennachie, thinning will improve the forest for recreation and for wildlife.

Bennachie was a complex site for us because of the many visitors who use the large number of paths there. There were also many archaeological sites which we had to protect while removing the trees. This meant a number of trail diversions and closures as well as a fortnight when we closed the Bennachie Centre and car park.

We are nearly finished cutting trees there. Please be aware that timber lorries may be using the forest roads for a while yet so take care when walking along them or crossing them. When we have finished, any damage to the roads and paths will be repaired.”

Over thirteen and half thousand cubic metres of timber will be produced which then goes to a wide range of markets from house-building, pallets and fencing, woodfuel, chip board and paper.

Some of it is also exported to Scandinavia.

The spokesman added: “It is usual for felled areas to be replanted after about four years. At that stage, we take the opportunity to improve the diversity of trees and the amount of open space within the forest. In general, we now plant a lot more native broadleaved species and try to avoid large areas of a single conifer species.

We also tend to keep more areas unplanted to benefit wildlife.”