Drought damage to Sitka spruce in eastern Britain and disease impacts on pine, and larch more widely, suggest that total reliance on Sitka spruce monocultures for upland forestry may prove unwise. The project re-evaluates mixed-species upland plantations which combine Sitka spruce with alternative productive conifers such as Norway spruce, Douglas fir, western hemlock, grand fir and noble fir, and touches on other potential alternatives.
The outcomes suggest that this approach could offer significant benefits of resilience to novel pests and diseases and, to a lesser extent, climate change. There are also advantages in terms of silvicultural development and ecological sustainability. The full report can be viewed on the Scottish Forestry Trust website.