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Caithness Field Club Bulletin
Tree Counting at Badryrie (by Ken Butler)
The enclosure of an area of ground at Badryrie (ND 207432) was made in1984 by Gordon McLachlan with the aid of a grant from the predecessor of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the permission of the owner of the Lybster Estate. It was done by the erection of a deer-proof fence and it contained some old trees. Reference (1) records this in the Bulletin.
Twenty years later the content of the enclosure was reviewed by Butler and Ferriera (Reference 2). This review recommended, as one of the further actions, that a tree record should be made. A plan to do this in 2004 was foiled by bad weather, but a successful foray was made on 9th September 2005. The team was Ken Butler, Geoff Leet, Gordon McLachlan, Elizabeth Rintoul, Callum McKenzie, Alan Abernethy, Tony Bradford, Carol and ????.
The method was to identify and characterise as many trees as possible during the day, choosing a mix of species, ages and positions to get a representative set of data which can be followed up at intervals into the future. In the event 24 trees were chosen out of maybe 150 in total (we have never counted the trees ! ). So each tree chosen was given a number (1 to 24) and a copper label was hung from the tree with the number impressed on it. The species was recorded, the girth, height and age, plus a comment on general health. The location of the tree was measured compared to reference lines laid for the occasion (and removed afterwards).
This note seeks to record these data for posterity. The table gives the data. The first drawing shows the location of the fence and the reference lines. The second drawing shows the location of the trees within the enclosure.
Most trees are located by reference to Line 1 or Line 2. Line 1 has a zero point at the gate and Line 2 has a zero point at the south fence. The distance along the line was measured then the perpendicular distance East or West. Some trees in awkward positions were located by other measurements specified in the table.
Height and girth were measured directly with tapes or sticks held high. The age was a guessed estimate by Ken Butler, and he assessed condition into the categories “good”, “poor” or “moderate”.