Woodland Creation – Native Upland Birch
This is an old version of the page
Date published: 2 July, 2015
Date superseded: 16 July, 2015
Updates to last version
- addition of scoring criteria
The aim of this scheme is to encourage the creation of native upland birch woodland of the National Vegetation Classification W4: Downy birch with purple moor grass on shallow peaty soils (less than 50 centimetres peat depth).
You must meet all eligibility criteria listed in the Woodland Creation page and:
- you must comply with the UK Forestry Standard
- the minimum planting width is 15 metres
- the minimum block size is 0.25 hectares in any one year
- your application must meet the species composition criteria in the table below
|Composition of native upland birch woodland|
|Minimum stocking density |
on the planted area
at year five (per hectare)
|Native upland birch|
National Vegetation Classification W4 
|85||90||1600 initial planting and |
1100 at establishment
|Designed open ground ||0||15||n/a|
| Please note that in order to comply with UKFS no more than 75 per cent is permitted for a single species. Up to 10 per cent native Scots pine, on sites within the pinewood zone, will be allowed for micro-site planting and up to 20 per cent of the native broadleaves can be native woody shrubs as recommended for this National Vegetation Classification woodland type in Forestry Commission Bulletin 112.|
In recognition of the special significance of Scots pine in mainland Scotland out with the pinewood zone, up to five per cent of Scots pine, of a suitable Scottish provenance, may be incorporated, where careful site evaluation indicates that it would be appropriate and deliver silvicultural benefits.
 You must refer to the designed open ground guidance on the Forestry Commission Scotland Technical Support page to see how designed open ground will apply to your application. For example additional open ground, in excess of the specified percentage, may be permissible depending on the specifics of the site, but will not be eligible for grant support.
Please note that in order to achieve 100 per cent from the table above you will not be able to select all minimum or all of the maximum values.
As an initial first step in determining whether or not the site is climatically suitable, you should view the Forestry Grant Scheme (2014–2020) Site Suitability folder on the Forestry Commission Scotland Map Viewer page.
You should also demonstrate that this National Vegetation Classification woodland type is appropriate to the site, which will be determined by existing vegetation indicator (refer to Forestry Commission Bulletin 112 – Creating New Native Woodland), as well as climatic conditions, soil moisture and soil nutrient regimes.
Any applications that are not shown as being climatically suitable will only be considered if you can clearly demonstrate that the site is suitable for the chosen species of trees, for example where there is localised shelter in an otherwise exposed location.
As per the eligibility criteria of the woodland creation general guidance the tree species must be 'suitable' or 'very suitable' to the site.
For all native broadleaves and native Scots pine planted within this option, you must provide a copy of the supplier's document when submitting an initial planting claim (see Forestry Commission Scotland Technical Support for an example document).
As well as entering the quantity of trees and the Master Certificate Number on the suppliers document, you should also include the region of provenance, demonstrating that the trees are suitable for the site (refer to Forestry Commission Scotland guidance on Seed sources for planting native trees and shrubs in Scotland).
See the Forestry Commission's Marketing and Supplying Forest Reproductive Materials for further information.
Threshold score = 10 points
Each option within your application must meet the threshold score to be considered for approval. In achieving the threshold score, your option must score against each criterion except for Additional Benefit. The scores will then be used as the basis for allocating funding on a competitive basis through the Forestry Grant Scheme clearing process.
Delivery of Option Benefits
1 POINT – for applications that meet the eligibility criteria but do not deliver any of the benefits below
3 POINTS - for applications that provide one or more of the following in addition to meeting the eligibility requirements:
- applications that improve an existing afforested landscape by helping to resolve recognised design deficiencies (usually related to the design principles of relative scale and shape), or support the aims of National Parks, National Scenic Areas and Local Landscape Areas (formerly known as AGLVs)
- applications which can demonstrate their design follows the guidance in Forestry Commission Scotland Bulletin 112 and increase the size and resilience of existing native woodlands with appropriate new planting to form a contiguous block of woodland
- applications which will expand the size and resilience of existing native woodlands by forming key linkages within a habitat network
5 POINTS - for applications that meet one of the three point criteria above and one or more of the criteria below:
- applications which will expand the size and resilience of existing native woodlands by forming key linkages within a habitat. You must be within the 'Primary Zone' of a native woodland habitat network which is identified on the 'Native Woodland Habitat Network' map on the FCS map viewer (see 'FGS 2014-20 target area' folder)
- applications that clearly show in the woodland creation operational plan that you have included management for other biodiversity benefits, for example priority species or habitats, peatlands etc
- applications within one of the priority areas identified in the FCS-SEPA opportunity mapping projects as likely to provide multiple benefits for natural flood management and water quality. Select the 'FGS (2014-20) Target Areas' folder on the FCS Map Viewer to confirm your application meets this requirement
Scale of delivery
1 POINT - applications between 0.25ha and 9.99ha
3 POINTS - applications between 10ha and 19.99ha
5 POINTS - applications above 20ha
Delivering better quality
1 POINT – for applications that meet the minimum stocking density eligibility criteria for this option, which is:
- 1,600 stems/ha at initial planting
3 POINTS – for applications that deliver more than the minimum stocking density eligibility criteria for this option, which is:
- 10 per cent of the area within the scheme boundary planted at 3,000 stems/ha
5 POINTS – for applications that are well in excess of the minimum stocking density eligibility criteria for this option, which is:
- 20 per cent of the area within the scheme boundary planted at 3,000 stems/ha
Delivery of good practice
1 POINT – for applications which meet the minimum relevant industry standards, but do not deliver any of the benefits detailed below.
3 POINTS – for applications that meet one of the criteria detailed below:
- applications which demonstrate that you have liaised with consultees, communities and neighbours, prior to the scheme being submitted and addressed, where possible, any points they may have raised
5 POINTS – for applications that meet one of the criteria detailed below:
- applications which clearly demonstrate that you have thoroughly assessed the site conditions and propose the most appropriate management techniques to minimise the impacts to the environment. This must be beyond what you might be compelled to do within the conditions of the contract or recognised as an industry standard practice
- applications which are community owned, led, or supported and clearly demonstrate the delivery of significant benefits to the local community such as designed landscape
Value for money
Applications where the cost of ancillary eligible capital supporting works, for example: fencing, gates, tree shelters, bracken control, are:
1 POINT - more than 30 per cent of the total capital cost for initial planting.
Example for 1 point
Core capital item:
Initial planting 25ha Native Downy Birch =£46,000
Ancillary capital items:
Deer Fence: 3,200m x £6.80 =£21,760
Deer Gate: 2 x £172 =£344
Ancillary costs as a percentage of total grant sought:
6 POINTS - less than 30 per cent of the total capital cost for initial planting
10 POINTS - less than 10 per cent of the total capital cost for initial planting
Supplementary point - additional benefit
1 POINT – will be awarded, as an additional point, where:
- applications are in an area identified as 'preferred' within the relevant Forestry and Woodland Strategy (or equivalent)
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