Tree clearance around Loch Leven

We’ve been busy with our gang of volunteers over the last few Wednesdays at various points around the reserve.  It’s been hard work at times, with weather conditions often proving a challenge, but on one occasion gracing us with glorious sunshine.

Levenmouth lowland heathland habitat

Levenmouth lowland heathland habitat

A lovely day to chop and burn some wood!

A lovely day to chop and burn some wood!

We started our tree clearing work in an area of woodland at Levenmouth that was once an excellent example of lowland heathland habitat.  Over the last 30 to 50 years, birch trees have encroached and transformed the area of land, out-competing heather and blaeberry that typically dominate this habitat, and make it excellent for bumblebees, as well as the lovely Green Hairstreak butterfly.

Green Hairstreaks

Green Hairstreaks

When the tree clearance work was started here two years ago we were delighted when George Guthrie recorded this charismatic butterfly that same year along a strip of blaeberry on the fringe of the area we had been working on.

Jeremy taking care of some logs for the fire

Jeremy taking care of some logs for the fire

Susan feeding the fire

Susan feeding the fire

Alan taking it easy after a hard day's graft.

Alan taking it easy after a hard day’s graft.

Our next area to tackle this month was at Burleigh Sands.  Willow trees growing around the small ponds that were once the course of the North Quiech have become so big that the ponds are now constantly shaded.  We were keen to open them up and allow more sunlight in to these lovely pond habitats.  With more sunlight, photosynthesis will be more efficient and allow a richer diversity of aquatic vegetation to grow, consequently encouraging species of damselfly and other aquatic invertebrates to thrive.  Our insect surveyors that have been monitoring damselflies here for over 7 years will be delighted at the improvements being made.

One of the Burleigh ponds is now much more visible

One of the Burleigh ponds is now much more visible

Richard and Craig getting the fire started.  Corrugated iron sheets were used to protect the ground.

Richard and Craig getting the fire started. Corrugated iron sheets were used to protect the ground.

Plenty more wood still to burn!

Plenty more wood still to burn!

A pond resident stopped in to inspect our handy work.

A pond resident stopped in to inspect our handy work.

The volunteers have enjoyed a couple of Wednesdays up at Burleigh burning the willow, and as you walk past the area we’ve been working on, you will certainly notice how much more open the ponds are beginning to appear.

Victory flag by Alison Buckle (Artist in Residence).  It was great to see Alison's work of art blowing in the wind while we were up there working.

Victory flag by Alison Buckle (Artist in Residence). It was great to see Alison’s work of art blowing in the wind while we were up there this week.

Another couple of weeks at Burleigh before it’ll be time to move on to other areas of willow encroachment at Levenmouth, before hopefully getting to work on an area of willow at Mary’s Knowe, which has been out-competing Holy grass for many years.  Look out for us over the winter with our chainsaws and bonfires, and apologies for any disturbance caused.

About Craig.Nisbet

Reserve Officer Loch Leven National Nature Reserve Scottish Natural Heritage
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One Response to Tree clearance around Loch Leven

  1. Pattie Leonardis says:

    You’re doing great work!

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