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Lodgepole tree types in Hill of Maud Forest
Forestry Memories
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No: 2674   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1971
Lodgepole tree types in Hill of Maud Forest

Maps and tables courtesy of Moray and Aberdeenshire Forest District, Huntly.

Map of hill of Maud Forest, Morayshire which has been coloured up and annotated to show the different varieties of Lodgepole pine (provenances) planted in the various compartments.

Lodgepole pine was regarded initially in the 1960s as the ideal pioneer tree to plant on deep wet peaty conditions where Sitka spruce and other species would not grow well. The tree species naturally ranges from Washington in northwest USA, all the way up the west coast and inland areas of Canada and then into Alaska. The characteristics of the tree, from the various different parts of its range, vary significantly and the word provenance is used to describe the trees from the major zones in this large geographical area.

Much research effort was put into trying to identify which tree provenance suited the different site conditions in Scotland. The provenances from the very south coastal areas proved the most vigorous and could grow well in deep poor quality peat but as time went on they proved to have very poor stem form, large heavy branches and bent over or blew down very easily.

The inland varieties from the middle of British Columbia and into Albert proved to have very good stem form and good shape but suffered badly from Scottish weather at higher altitudes especially in low nutrient conditions. The concerns of foresters on the suitability of some Lodgepole pine provenances were obviously showing in 1971, hence the reason for the survey map.

In later years of the 1980s forest research eventually focussed on provenances from northern BC in areas around and inland Skeena River, Queen Charlotte Islands and from the coastal islands of Alaska all of which proved more suitable to the exposed sites with peaty low nutrient conditions. However by this time many thousands of hectares of southern and inland varieties were already in the ground and looking in poor shape. The final blow was the emergence of Red Band Needle Blight disease from around 2010 which seemed to have a preference for the southern and inland varieties and to some degree the Skeena River provenance. Fortunately the North Coastal and the Alaskan provenances seemed to be more disease resistant and by now, with the focus on species mixture planting, these provenances are used in mixture with Sitka spruce on the sites formerly planted with pure Lodgepole pine.

Perhaps it could be said that the pioneer Lodgeploe pine did alleviate some of the very difficult anaerobic low fertility site conditions and kick started the nutrient cycle enabling the second new planted crop of better timber producing species to grow with reasonable vigour. No doubt time will tell!

The PDF shows other sections of the map, map comments in detail and notes on provenance characteristics by Roger Lines from Forest Research. Note the location names used as to describe the various Lodgepole pine types: Sooke, Alberni, Quesnel, Ft St James, Fraser River, Longbeach, Shuswap Lake etc etc.
Picture added on 31 October 2014
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