holds ancient shared land use rights on behalf of the community
over the whole of the Forest of Birse Commonty or nearly 4,000
ha (9,000 acres) (map).
Two other parties also have rights over the Commonty: the owner
of the solum, the Dickinson Trust (Birse Estate), and the
owners of the sporting rights, the Dickinson Trust and Nicol
Brothers (Ballogie Estate).
Forest of Birse Commonty dates from medieval times and has had
a long history of disputes (see History in
Birse). In 1999, as part of an historic settlement over the
Commonty, BCT and the other two parties signed the North Hill
Management Agreement to enable BCT to secure Forestry
Commission grants for the use of its ancient rights to manage
the self sown native pinewoods covering c.550 ha of the North
Hill of the Commonty. BCT and the two Estates have also held
two regular meetings each year since as part of ensuring
coordination of their respective interests in the Commonty.
Commonty pinewoods include a major part of Scotland’s
most easterly surviving Native Caledonian Pinewood and
BCT’s manages the site to conserve and expand this
nationally important habitat. The area of established woodland
has increased by natural regeneration by 15% under BCT’s
management and the increase would have been 25%, if it had not
been for the major wildfire in April 2003 that destroyed part
of the existing woodland (survey
report). BCT has also planted over 23,000 individually
protected native broadleaves of local genetic origin along the
Feugh and its tributaries in the pinewood area, as part of
restoring riparian woodland and the broadleaf component of the
pinewood that has not survived the long history of browsing by
deer and sheep.
has carried out a wide range of other improvements and surveys
in the Commonty Pinewoods since 1999. BCT has a long term
Forest Plan for the Commonty Pinewoods 2011-30, which was
approved by Forestry Commission Scotland and which BCT is
Birse Community Trust 2015. All rights reserved.