|IPA Factsheet - Loch Lomond Woods|
Site Description In general, the main interest of the IPA lies with the upland oak woodland plant communities that are scattered along both banks of the loch and on some of the islands, and the oceanic bryophytes that exist within the more sheltered and humid areas; and also with the wetland plant communities in the south-east corner of the loch, where the Endrick Water debouches. Loch Lomond forms a long, steep-sided and relatively narrow glen, that opens out to lower lands to the south. The landform coupled with the climate has produced a mild and humid environment conducive to growth of bryophytes and lichens tolerant of a cool, damp atmosphere.
Botanical Significance (From SSSI Citations) The Loch Lomond Woods IPA comprises a range of stands and pockets of oak Quercus dominated woodland around the steep-sided fringes of Loch Lomond. Oak is found mainly on the lower slopes, with Downy Birch Betula pubescens becoming more dominant on the upper reaches and Alder Alnus glutinosa on wet, flatter ground. There are numerous steep-sided gorges draining the high hills surrounding the loch with abundant Ash Fraxinus excelsior providing shade. Shrub layers are poor. The damp gorges and shady woods provide a relatively mild and humid environment that supports an exceptionally rich bryophyte community, including many Atlantic liverwort species indicative of ancient woodland, while in the more open woodlands the equivalent oceanic lichen communities are found. (From SSSI management statements). Loch Lomond Woods IPA contain a range of important woodland habitats and plant assemblages; oceanic oakwoods and wet woodlands, containing a rich ground flora of vascular plants, and bryophyte and lichen assemblages. Not every stand of woodland will contain all these features, but taken as a whole the woodland around Loch Lomond is exceptionally rich for old, oceanic woodland indicator species. The Lobarion lichen community is well represented, especially so in the more open woodland and parkland habitats, along with representatives of the Parmelion and Graphidion communities. The Atlantic liverwort species are best represented on rocks and boulders within ancient woodland that retains humid conditions, and the lower trunks of trees can also support a range of important bryophytes indicative of oceanic woodland. See Plantlife ID Guides on Lichens of Atlantic Woodlands and Bryophytes of Atlantic Woodlands for the key indicator species
General Habitat Description Woodland cover is not continuous around the loch, and broadleaved woodland can be interspersed with coniferous plantations and rough open grazing with abundant bracken. The steep terrain, with numerous burns cutting into the rock has led to a series of ravines or gorges that are not suitable for pasture or timber management. The persistence of these ancient, often unmanaged stands of woodland has allowed the bryophyte and lichen communities to flourish.
Conservation Issues Overgrazing of understorey from a combination of sheep and deer. Bracken spread due to decline of traditional woodland management practices. Fragmentation and isolation of woodland stands. Self-seeding exotic conifer species from adjacent forestry stands. Erection of stock and deer fencing to exclude grazing animals resulting in dense vegetation growth. Removal of exotic conifer species, Rhododendron ponticum management.