Introduction of native ground flora species to a pine plantation in NE Scotland.
The effects of crop thinning, fencing and planting position on the growth and survival of introduced transplants of Vaccinium myrtillus, V. vitis-idaea, Empetrum nigrum, and Juniperus communis were assessed over 7 growing seasons (5 growing seasons for J. communis) in an upland first rotation Pinus sylvestris plantation in NE Scotland. The 4 introduced species are all native ground flora and understorey species typical of pinewood communities in the UK, but were not already present at this site. Establishment was successful in all treatments, but survival, height growth and radial spread of the two Vacciniaspp. was significantly better in plots fenced against roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Survival of E. nigrum was significantly better in the thinned treatment, and height growth of J. communis was greater in the fenced treatment. Height and radial spread of V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea were significantly better in planting positions within extraction racks between crop rows, than within the crop rows themselves. The results are discussed in terms of pinewood vegetation community dynamics, and management options for speeding up the development of a native ground flora in new pinewoods.