Gorsebusters tackle scientific site

Wildlife rangers and members of public team up to clear invasive gorse at Site of Scientific Interest near Aberdeen

A city council’s wildlife rangers have teamed up with the public in a gorsebusting exercise. The idea is to curb the plant, which is invading Scotstown Moor, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) near Aberdeen. For five hours, a group armed with cutting implements battled the yellow invader Ulex europaeus. Aberdeen City Council ranger Bob Rowe said: “It is essential that we control the spread of gorse. This will allow more light to reach the ground and favour the heather and other wild flowers. “In turn, butterflies, beetles and other insects will be attracted to the flowers and, subsequently, birds looking for a ready meal.” Gorse was originally introduced on account of its nitrogen-fixing capacity, which benefited the soil. The cut gorse was either taken away from sensitive areas and burned, or was burnt on corrugated iron so the ash could be removed to reduce nutrient input in the soil. The cut stumps were then treated with chemicals, and contractors were also involved in the battle. The removal of gorse will provide fire breaks, improve pedestrian access along footpaths and help to restore areas of heathland that had been invaded by the plant. One of the reasons for the attack is because the site features plants such as Schoenus nigricans, the black bog-rush, Menyanthes trifoliata, the bog bean, Hydrocotyle vulgaris, the water pennywort and Dactylorhiza maculata, the heath-spotted orchid.

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