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.
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.
These small patches provide nectar and pollen sources for invertebrates.
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.
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.
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.