Much of Formartine District and the Ythan catchment has a fairly low woodland density, with a large proportion of land dedicated to arable cropping and livestock farming, and less than 4% to woodland. The woodland density on Haddo Estate is in fact relatively high, particularly within the landscaped parkland that makes up the Country Park, a legacy of the 4th Earl’s energetic planting programme in the middle of the 19th century.
The Estate’s woodland consists of interconnected and detached blocks varying from 2ha or less up to 25ha, coming to a total of 475ha. Norway spruce, which are particularly hospitable to Haddo’s red squirrel population, accounts for the majority of the woodland. There are also large quantities of Scots pine, which enjoys the peaty conditions of the soil on parts of the Estate, and Douglas fir, which produce high quality sawlogs. In addition, the number of native broadleaf trees, e.g. silver birch, beech and elm, has been increasing thanks to a renewed focus on biodiversity on the Estate.
Almost 40% of Haddo’s woodland was destroyed by gales in 1953, necessitating a massive replanting programme in the late 1950s and ‘60s. This resulted in large areas of woodland being of similar age. The main aim of forestry management at Haddo is to create an uneven age structure. This avoids the need to clearfell large areas of woodland at any one time, creating a more staggered approach to felling.
A new long-term plan has been approvedwhich will maintain and improve Haddo’s woodland. The standards set out in the UK Forestry Standard will be met by the Estate management in a number of ways.