The Winton woods are actively managed for timber, wildlife habitat, shelter and recreation.
Each block is called a compartment and will probably have its own sub-compartments, each with their own plan for management since the ages of the trees and the species are all different.
There are 115 sub compartments and over a million trees on the estate; 45% of these are broad leaves and the rest conifers, though when 100 acres were planted on farmland in 2006, (about 60 professional football pitches), two thirds were broad leaves.
Above is a map of the forestry on Winton Estate, or you can link to a large version here: Winton Estate Forestry 2016-17. Below is a link to a map of the forest at Saltoun Big Wood: Saltoun Big Wood 2016.
Trees grown for timber need to be tall, straight and fat without too many branches. As trees grow, the first crop are thinned out for biomass (wood chips) and firewood markets, growing the rest of the trees on for furniture, construction and fencing markets. We start to thin when we can cut three 3m lengths of timber and we go on growing softwoods generally for up to 80-100 years and sometimes twice that for hardwoods.
While we work to a 20 year Forest Plan with the Forestry Commission, the plan in effect spans generations; to be successful, it requires years of consistent work and deep pockets.
Trees grown for timber need to be tall, straight and fat with few branches. As trees grow, the first crop is thinned out for woodchip and firewood markets, growing on the best for furniture, construction and fencing markets. We start to thin when we can cut three 3m lengths of timber and we go on growing softwoods, generally for up to 80 years and sometimes twice that for hardwoods.
Whilst we work to a 10 year Forest Plan with the Forestry Commission, the plan in effect spans generations; to be successful, it requires years of consistent work and deep pockets.
Installing a biomass boiler in 2002 was an incentive to harvest the worst timber that would otherwise be left. Now with a growing market for woodchips and firewood, very little of the trees, other than the tops or the thinnest, are wasted.
As a habitat for wildlife, by cutting out selected trees rather than clear-felling whole blocks, the overall cover is maintained. This is good also for the landscape and recreation.
This is called Continuous Cover Forestry and is a principle adopted for woodland management throughout the estate where this is possible.
Saltoun Big Wood was purchased in 1995; this type of management has been practiced there for many years and the results are multi-layered tree-cover with a growing variety of species.
With Ash-dieback, Dutch elm disease and a number of other pests and diseases, having a wide pool of species that can cope with set-backs is a good safety-net.