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Special Areas of Conservation

Ben Lui

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Eastern Scotland, Highlands and Islands
Centroid* NN265260
Latitude 56.39444444
Longitude -4.811111111
SAC EU Code UK0012900
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 2057.13
* 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 Ben Lui SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (0.1%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (17%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (25%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (25%)
  • Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (20.7%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (0.1%)
  • Coniferous woodland (0.1%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (12%)

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

  • Ben Lui supports W20 Salix lapponumLuzula sylvatica scrub, occurring on highly calcareous schist at moderate altitude. The scrub is well-developed on an extensive series of schistose crags and rock ledges. Unlike at most other sites, the dominant species is whortle-leaved willow Salix myrsinites. This variant also occurs at Inchnadamph (where by contrast the scrub occurs at low altitude on limestone). Net-leaved willow S. reticulata is frequent, mainly associated with areas of calcareous grassland. Mountain willow S. arbuscula, tea-leaved willow S. phylicifolia and downy willow S. lapponum are also represented. The scrub has a rich flora and is associated with 6430 Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels and 6170 Alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands.

  • Ben Lui is one of four sites selected in the Breadalbane Hills of the southern Highlands to represent high-altitude Alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands. Ben Lui has extensive areas of the open hill sub-type CG12 Festuca ovinaAlchemilla alpinaSilene acaulis dwarf-herb community. CG14 Dryas octopetalaSilene acaulis ledge community also occurs in profusion on steep, rocky ground. This supports an outstanding arctic-alpine flora, including alpine bartsia Bartsia alpina, mossy saxifrage Saxifraga hypnoides, cyphel Minuartia sedoides, rock sedge Carex rupestris, and hair sedge C. capillaris. The quality and diversity of this community and the range of transitions to other habitat types are similar to those on Ben Lawers, but less extensive.

  • Ben Lui in the Breadalbane range in the southern Scottish Highlands is representative of hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities occurring on calcareous schist up to high altitude. Ben Lui has a large number of examples of this habitat type, distributed widely across the site. Structure and function are well-developed and the communities are diverse. Characteristic species include roseroot Sedum rosea, wild angelica Angelica sylvestris, melancholy thistle Cirsium heterophyllum and globeflower Trollius europaeus, and a number of rare arctic-alpines, including alpine bartsia Bartsia alpina, alpine saw-wort Saussurea alpina, the lady’s-mantle Alchemilla wichurae, black alpine-sedge Carex atrata and rock sedge C. rupestris. Together with Glen Coe, Ben Lui represents the habitat type in the wetter and more oceanic west, where there is a greater frequency of species associated with wetter silts and dripping ledges, such as marsh hawk’s-beard Crepis paludosa, grass-of-Parnassus Parnassia palustris and bog orchid Hammarbya palustris. There is also a great luxuriance of ferns, including oak fern Gymnocarpium dryopteris, lemon-scented fern Oreopteris limbosperma, beech fern Phegopteris connectilis, holly-fern Polystichum lonchitis and hard shield-fern Polystichum aculeatum. In places hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities occur in an intimate mosaic with 4080 Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub, and there are well-developed transitions between them. Most of the species of Ben Lawers are present, except for some of the rarer montane species. The extent of the habitat type is at Ben Lui is similar to that on Ben Lawers.

  • Ben Lui is one of three sites in the Breadalbane range in the southern Scottish Highlands representing the range of variation of alpine pioneer formations up to high altitude. High-altitude mires are frequent on the site and include both open types with M11 Carex demissaSaxifraga aizoides mire and more closed types with M12 Carex saxatilis mire. The rare false sedge Kobresia simpliciuscula, Scottish asphodel Tofieldia pusilla, chestnut rush Juncus castaneus and two-flowered rush Juncus biglumis are present. The rare flush bryophytes Catoscopium nigritum, Meesia uliginosa, Timmia norvegica, Harpanthus flotovianus and Tritomaria polita are well-represented.

  • Ben Lui represents Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation in an oceanic climate at the western end of the Breadalbane range. There is a wide band of calcareous schist forming crags at altitudes of 460-760 m on northerly slopes. The flora includes a number of rare montane calcicoles including mountain avens Dryas octopetala, hoary whitlowgrass Draba norvegica, mountain bladder-fern Cystopteris montana, alpine woodsia Woodsia alpina and net-leaved willow Salix reticulata.

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

  • Not Applicable

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