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Special Areas of Conservation

Sands of Forvie

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority North Eastern Scotland
Centroid* NK020270
Latitude 57.33333333
Longitude -1.966666667
SAC EU Code UK0013042
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 735.48
* 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 Sands of Forvie SAC

General site character

  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (46%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (1%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (1%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (1%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (50%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (1%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site as submitted to Europe (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

  • Sands of Forvie is one of three sites on the east coast of Scotland which represent the northern part of the UK range of Embryonic shifting dunes. The Sands of Forvie is one of the most geomorphologically active dune systems in the UK, and as a result, the site contains significant representation of dune types associated with shifting sand. Identifiable zones of both lyme-grass Leymus arenarius and sand couch Elytrigia juncea are present, although, as is common with this habitat type, they may be narrow and discontinuous.

  • The dunes that cover part of Sands of Forvie form one of three sites on the east coast of Scotland selected to represent Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria. They are exceptionally mobile, with large areas of bare sand, and there are extensive areas of this habitat type on the site. The site is particularly noted for the substantial areas where sand accretion is so rapid that only marram Ammophila arenaria can survive. However, other types of shifting dune vegetation can be seen, reflecting different degrees of instability. For example, in areas where there is less sand accretion, red fescue Festuca rubra may be found with the marram.

  • This large and mature site on the east coast of Scotland includes a sequence of decalcified, fixed dune ridges that have developed over a period of several hundred years. The dune heath complex within the site can, in this case, be confidently defined as Decalcified fixed dunes with Empetrum nigrum, because crowberry Empetrum nigrum is widespread throughout the heath. It is one of the best examples of the type in the UK because of the extent and diversity of the crowberry community and the diversity of transitions to other habitats. The free-draining heath is interspersed with a number of wet hollows in which important acidic examples of Annex┬áI type 2190 Humid dune slacks are present, typically supporting cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix, for which this site is also selected. There are transitions to acidic dune grassland and wet heath, which grades into dune slack.

  • Sands of Forvie represents Humid dune slacks in an acidic dune system in north-east Scotland. The dune slacks are mainly of an acidic type, with extensive areas of wet heath, characterised by crowberry Empetrum nigrum and cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix, and transitions to dune heath. Early stages in slack development occur, with the dune slack flora characterised by common sedge Carex nigra and marsh pennywort Hydrocotyle vulgaris. Higher zones have more creeping willow Salix repens ssp. argentea, which tends to invade and replace the wet heath.

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

  • Not Applicable

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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