Getting to the roots of Rhododendron ponticum

ACT is working with the community of Glen Creran (near Appin) to deliver a landscape-scale approach to controlling rhododendron. This project will involve rhododendron ponticum clearance, plus training and equipment for the local community to enable them to take ownership of the issue in Glen Creran. The project will also introduce the wider community and local school children to the delights of Glen Creran through a programme of education and guided walks.

The importance of Glen Creran

Why is Glen Creran so important? The Atlantic oakwoods of Glen Creran are one of the few habitats in Scotland that are of outstanding global importance. The woods support a rich community of mosses and lichens including 23 globally vulnerable or near-threatened species. The site has been identified as a top priority for complete rhododendron removal to conserve the oakwoods for future generations.

Sustainability

By involving the local community and providing them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to manage rhododendron we are ensuring that they are equipped to continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action once the main control programme ends. It is hoped that lessons learned from this project will help to inform rhododendron ponticum control in other areas of Argyll, and beyond.

ACT and the Appin Community launching the Glen Creran project

For more general information about invasive non-native species and what you could do to identify and report invasive non-native species, including Rhododendron ponticum, in your area read our conservation and biodiversity section.

Glen Creran funding

The project builds upon previous work undertaken by Forestry Commission Scotland, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland until 2021.

Glen Creran project updates

You can learn more about Rhododendron ponticum and how it threatens native habitats in our blog Pesky ponticum (part one) - what's so bad about rhododendron? The second part of the blog Pesky ponticum (part two) - a community-led conservation effort further describes the Glen Creran project and how it has been used to showcase landscape scale rhododendron control in action for the benefit of other communities and organisations. 

As part of the legacy of the project, community volunteers will be trained in the identification, control and removal of invasive rhododendron. In November 2019, 10 residents from the glen took part in a workshop called "Getting to know your enemy". Throughout the day, attendees learned techniques and tools for controlling the regrowth of invasive rhododendron without using chemicals. They were also given a demonstration of how to make soil improving biochar from cut rhododendron.

Lever and mulch techniques demonstrated by Donald Kennedy Creating biochar demonstrated by Ed Tyler

Contact Glen Creran 

Please contact [email protected] with any queries.