|IPA Factsheet - Black Wood of Rannoch|
Site Description Black Wood of Rannoch Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) lies over north-facing slopes on the southern shore of Loch Rannoch in magnificent scenery of mountains and lochs. Pine dominates in the eastern part of the wood rising from the shore of Loch Rannoch to 500m on the slopes of Cross Craigs while to the west birch dominates in two wooded areas. The lower woodlands here are mainly on the hill ground of Coille Mhor, while the upper woods are at altitude on the north and northeast faces of Leagag. The broad saddle between these woods is an important landscape and ecological feature with a range of heather moorland, mire and open areas
Botanical Significance The Black Wood of Rannoch is the most extensive area of relict native pinewood remaining in Perthshire and is one of only 35 surviving ancient pinewood remnants in Scotland. These sites are believed to have been wooded continuously since the retreat of the ice sheets and the Blackwood is known to have occupied this site since 1750 giving it in the most part a very natural character. The pinewood remnants are are designated under the European Habitats and Species Directive as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It is considered to be one of the best areas in the UK. Within the European Union Caledonian Forest is an Annex 1 priority habitat which only occurs in Scotland. The extensive area of downy birch woods is also a rare habitat. The notified natural features are Woodland: Native pinewood Woodland: Upland birch woodland Non-vascular plants: Lichen assemblage Non-vascular palnts: Fungi assemblage Euphrasias: E. rostkoviana - but with introgression from E. arctica
General Habitat Description Past Land Use: Timber extraction was the main use in the past. In particular some very large trees were extracted and selective felling took place during the Second World War
Conservation Issues The main conservation issue at the site regards maintaining the right conditions for a variety of flowering plants, mosses and fungi. In addition there are a number of rare insects such as dragonflies and butterflies which the area supports. The structure is important with appropriate glade-like conditions required to support the important lowers plants of the site. The grazing levels and their effect on natural regeneration are very important.