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Special Areas of Conservation

Morrone Birkwood

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority North Eastern Scotland
Centroid* NO134901
Latitude 56.99444444
Longitude -3.425
SAC EU Code UK0012894
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 320.53
* This is the approximate central point of the SAC. In the case of large, linear or composite sites, this may not represent the location where a feature occurs within the SAC.
Location of Morrone Birkwood SAC

General site character

  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (5%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (85%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (3%)
  • Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (1%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (5%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (1%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site (PDF <100kb)

Note When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Morrone Birkwood is one of several sites representing juniper Juniperus communis formations in north-east Scotland. It has the most extensive and diverse example of a transition between woodland and juniper scrub in the UK. The site contains examples of juniper developed both on limestone drift soil and on contrasting acidic soils. The stands on lime-rich soils are the largest and most diverse in Scotland. The flora is species-rich, with a well-developed northern component. This includes rare species usually associated with Scots pine Pinus sylvestris woods, such as twinflower Linnaea borealis, serrated wintergreen Orthilia secunda and interrupted clubmoss Lycopodium annotinum. Nodding mellick Melica nutans, globeflower Trollius europaeus and northern bedstraw Galium boreale also occur. Juniper is actively regenerating on the open slopes above the wood. Pollen analysis indicates that the wood has not altered floristically since the post-glacial period. Other habitats associated with the limestone include 6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates, 7220 Petrifying springs with tufa formation, 7230 Alkaline fens and 7240 Alpine pioneer formations of the Caricion bicoloris-atrofuscae.

  • Morrone Birkwood supports a relatively low altitude representation of this habitat in the eastern Scottish Highlands. Although they are not extensive, open flushes of M11 Carex demissaSaxifraga aizoides mire are frequent, associated with 7220 petrifying springs and more extensive areas of 7230 Alkaline fens. Species such as yellow saxifrage Saxifraga aizoides, Scottish asphodel Tofieldia pusilla and alpine rush Juncus alpinoarticulatus are present.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.