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Scots Pines: Lost Natives?

In the British Isles, Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is only thought to be native in the Scottish Highlands. However, there has been speculation that locally native specimens persist outside that region.

This study addressed the question: is it bioclimatically plausible that locally native Scots pines could still persist in southern Scotland and northern England?

The software package BIOCLIM, which has proved a useful tool for identifying possible locations of small populations and new species, was used to model current locations of Scots pine with climate surfaces. Based on this analysis, predictive maps were produced to identify where else in Scotland and northern England Scots pine might occur. Data were masked with soil types on which Scots pines naturally grow in Scotland to identify key areas where extant trees may still persist.

Results indicated that it is bioclimatically plausible that locally native Scots pines could persist in southern Scotland and northern England. However, further research is needed to confirm the natural origins of living Scots pines at particular locations.

We propose investigations into the native status of Scots pine within the areas identified. If native Scots pines are verified outside the Scottish Highlands, this has significant implications for ecology and conservation.

Manning, A.D., Kesteven, J., Stein, J., Lunn, A., Xu, TB, and Rayner, B., (2010) Could native Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris) still persist in northern England and southern Scotland?Plant Ecology & Diversity, 3(2) 187-201 Abstract

Conservation of native Scots pine in southern Scotland and northern England
Seed has been collected from the key remnant of putative native Scots Pine of Williams Cleugh, Kielder, Northumberland. Some has been planted locally, including at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust's Whitelee Moor Nature Reserve. On 15 February 2011, the first saplings of Williams Cleugh Scots pines were planted at the Carrifran Woodland in Dumfriesshire ( This is the start of a long-term program of future planting of that species in the borders region.

The first William Cleugh Scots Pine to be planted at the Carrifran Wildwood

The first Williams Cleugh Scots Pine to be
planted at the Carrifran Wildwood,
15 February 2011
(Photo: Philip Ashmole)

Article on the event held by the Royal Scottish Forestry Society and the Institute of Chartered Foresters - 'Resilience for native planting in south Scotland in a changing climate now that ash and elm are endangered; could Scots pine be included on suitable soil types?'



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