European beech (Fagus sylvatica) trees should be considered native to Scotland! That's the conclusion of a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) research project led by Professor Alistair Jump of the University of Stirling and researchers at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).
The project examined the DNA of more than 800 beech trees from 42 locations across Great Britain and compared their genetic makeup with beech trees from mainland Europe.
The research showed that almost all beech trees sampled were from native stock and could not have been planted. The findings of the study will clearly have an implication for the way in which individual beech trees and beech woodland are evaluated and managed throughout Great Britain.
This blog was informed by research undertaken by the University of Stirling, which was published in the Journal of Biogeography
Image Credits: Richard Woollett