Achrugan Plantation – Strathy Forest
Courtesy of North Highland Forest District, Golspie.
This is fairly obviously a local forest working map that was not completed but does show a large part of the new planting in the Achrugan Plantation from 1968 up to 1971. The compartments at the south follow on in sequence from the Dalangwell Plantation and would have been managed and worked by the same forest team. (Open PDF and expand in size if necessary).
At this time Lodgepole pine is annotated as the more modern LP and planted in quite large blocks but mixtures with other species are to be seen here and there. An interesting point shown by the annotations on the map as ‘summer planting’ would indicate that quite substantial areas were planted over the summer months and most likely refer to the use of ‘tube trees’ as the planting stock. In the nursery, single tree seed was sown into small 70mm high plastic tubes filled with potting mixture and grown on in trays of around 300 tubes under green house conditions. Once hardened off outside at around 15-20 weeks the trays of tubes were taken out to the hill and planted with a special planter made out of stainless steel plumbing pipe which pushed the plastic tube and its 50 – 70 mm high seedling into the ploughed peat furrow. A split down the side of the plastic tube allowed the expanding roots and stem to enlarge without too much trouble. Advantage of the system was the very quick production of nursery stock in 20 weeks as against 2-3 years and the extension of the planting season which allowed a small team to plant quite large areas in a year. Unfortunately the little trees were very susceptible to any attention by grouse, sheep or deer and also to being overwhelmed by weed grasses etc. The planting system of pushing into the ground limited the system to deeper, soft peat furrows. Very often the areas had to be extensively beaten up (replacement of dead trees) with normal planting stock in the following years.
Note also the use of suffixes to indicate the types of Lodgepole pine being planted, (SC) for South coastal, (NC) for North coastal and (SK) for Skeena River parent tree origins. In the map notes the identification numbers of the original tree seed from Alaska and Canada have been written in some compartments.
Any information on and names of foresters and people who worked in Strathy Forest would be very welcome.
As usual with a national organisation there was a code and procedure convention for mapping of plantations some of which survive in the FC to this day. Acquisition boundaries were edged with a yellow ink (in this case green was used); compartment boundaries (rides) drawn in red ink; the extent of the planting in any year was given a light colour wash, outlined in green ink and the planting year written in green eg P.66; the compartment’s serial number and area in acres was written within the compartment sometimes within a small circle; the areas where different tree species were planted within each compartment were annotated with a species code eg SS (Sitka spruce), LP (Lodgepole pine) etc; different species areas in each compartment had to be separated by a dotted black line; internal fences, streams and other land usually indicated by a solid black line. Map scale was usually 6 inches to the mile.
Note that the annual reporting year and the planting year coincided at this time in that they ran from 1st Oct to 30th Sep. This avoided having an artificial split in the totals for the planting season which ran from November through to May. The Planting Year (PY or just P) was fixed as the first summer following planting and thus trees planted in Nov 55 and May 56 were both annotated P56.
Picture added on 19 September 2012