NatureScot Commissioned Report 405: A woodland profile survey and assessment of herbivore impacts for Ben Hope SSSI
The three fragments of upland birchwoods in Ben Hope SSSI, Leitir Mhuiseil, Creag na garbh-baid and Merkan, are among the largest and best examples of native woodland remaining in the north of Scotland. The woods occupy a discontinuous band between the shore of Loch Hope up to an altitude of 220m on the western slopes of Ben Hope in Sutherland. The aim of this survey was to profile the current structure of the woodland, assess the extent of herbivore and other impacts on the woodland and review the current situation, including existing conservation management measures, in relation to the site’s conservation objectives. Previous reports had concluded that the birchwoods were in unfavourable condition due to overbrowsing and that there was significant evidence of browsing damage by deer and sheep.
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