Helping to save endangered trees


It is believed that, in the 17th century, Black Duncan of Breadalbane planted Drummond Hill above Kenmore with what is thought to be Scotland’s first managed forest.
Now owned by Forestry Commission Scotland the site is to host threatened ‘Coast redwoods’ (Sequoia) in a bid to save them from extinction.
The Sequoia is the tallest species of tree in the world. It was discovered in the 18th century but was first successfully introduced to Britain in 1843
Their planting on Drummond Hill is part of the iCONic project (International CONifers In Our Care), a Perthshire-based effort to save some of the wild conifers from around the world that are being threatened with extinction.  Such new plantings are being conducted in safe havens in gardens and woodlands to allow the trees to be monitored as they grow so that data can be gathered to aid their conservation in their native areas.
Botanists from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh collected sequoia seeds from native forests in California in 2010 and brought them back to Scotland, where they were nurtured in the nurseries at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh before being planted at Drummond Hill, which is already home to Scots Pine.

Adjacent Conifer Collection
A group of 15 HND Horticulture with Plantmanship students from the Botanic Gardens, along with lecturers and Commission staff planted 120 young coast redwoods, making it the largest single stand of sequoia in Scotland since the 19th century.
Tom Christian, of the iCONic project, explained:  “We chose the site on Drummond Hill as it is very close to the Taymouth Castle pleasure gardens on the north side of the loch just outside Kenmore. 
“This pinetum is home to one of the most fabulous collections of conifers in Scotland but is now sadly neglected. Included in the collection are two outstanding specimens of Sequoia sempervirens, which are among the largest in the country.
“It was concluded the Forestry Commission land close by would be the ideal area to establish an iCONic collection of sequoia.”
Plans are in place to plant further sequoia at Drummond Hill in the future to create a mixed age stand.
Charlie Taylor, of the Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “It’s really exciting to be involved in the iCONic project and to provide a safe site for these important trees on the national forest estate.  As well as doing our bit to help with worldwide conservation, we will also get local benefits as these trees will grow into a magnificent grove - future giants in an even bigger Perthshire Big Tree Country!”
In the future it is hoped that the sequoia collection can be used to replenish native forests, particularly in the US states of California and Oregon, where the trees are under threat due to over-logging and climate change.
 
Pictured planting one of the sequoia on site at Drummond Hill are Forestry Commission Scotland personnel (from bottom left, clockwise) Walter Henderson, Graeme Gartshore, Allan Stewart, Kevin McIntosh and Gordon Robertson

 

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