The Great Trossachs Forest includes a wide range of different important habitats.

Upland Oakwoods

Scotland’s Atlantic oakwoods are like temperate rainforests. The oak, birch, holly, rowan and hazel trees grow above a rich ground layer of ferns and mosses.

Wet Woods

There are various types of wet woodland habitat, often regarded as the most ‘natural’ of our woodlands as they tend not to be actively ‘managed’ as other woodland areas might be - for example, through grazing.

These wet woods usually form patches within larger areas of woodland, and may feature different trees depending on the local conditions. Wet woods are particularly important for various invertebrates, which in turn provide a vital food supply for birds.

Upland Mixed Ashwoods

These ancient woods tend to grow in relatively fertile soil. They are often home to an extensive range of plants. As well as ash trees, you may see wych elm, oak and hazel.

Wood Pasture

The remnants of wood pasture across The Great Trossachs Forest are some of the finest upland examples of this habitat remaining in Britain.

Much of this ancient landscape, created by man through traditional grazing, has been lost to farming, commercial forestry and other land uses. Large ancient trees stand surrounded by open ground and scatterings of smaller, younger trees. Mosses and lichens grow on the ageing trees.

While large ancient oaks are often associated with wood pasture, a good range of different tree and shrub species thrive in this environment, attracting many birds and insects.

Grassland

There are a number of herb-rich alpine and sub-alpine grassland types on the higher ground, where the underlying geology has enriched the soils.

These small patches provide nectar and pollen sources for invertebrates.

Native Pinewoods

Scotland’s native pinewoods are the westernmost remnants of the vast boreal forests which can still be seen in Russia.

Most strongly associated with the magnificent Caledonian or ‘Scots’ pine, these native coniferous woods in the mild conditions of The Trossachs include a range of other trees such as birch, juniper and hazel.

Montane Scrub

Montane scrub is the name given to the habitat which lies between the forest and the high mountain tops.

In these exposed conditions, on the upper slopes, trees cannot survive easily, and are sculpted and twisted by strong winds. The higher up you go, the fewer trees can survive, leaving shrubs such as blaeberry, heather and crowberry. Once an extensive habitat in Scotland, these areas have been limited by grazing and conserving them is now a priority.

Moorland

Moorland is one of the ‘classic’ landscapes of Scotland’s uplands.

The term covers a range of habitats, depending on the soil and geology. Some are more rugged and rocky, others covered in heather, some wetter and boggy. These various habitats are important to a wide range of wildlife, and while some moorland is ‘wild’ and little impacted by man, others such as the classic heather moorland result from deliberate action such as burning.

Open moorland areas of The Great Trossachs Forest are especially important for species which need both wooded and open areas for feeding and breeding, such as the black grouse and wildcat.

For more information about moorland...