Nature Champions: Woolly willow

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The Woolly Willow is Scotland’s rarest montane willow, recorded from only 11 hectads since 2000. . It is found in north-facing, high corries with base-rich soil and late snow lie. Male and female forms of the plant need to be in close proximity to set fertile seed. Conservation efforts have increased population numbers across various sites, including Ben Lawers which has at least 50 plants.

Action Needed

  1. Support measures to combat climate change.
  2. The 2021-2026 Parliament should introduce strong deer management legislation which prioritises the conservation and recovery of habitats and species
  3. Support montane scrub expansion through rural development programme measures. 
  4. Ensure the current Scottish Biodiversity Strategy is fully implemented and the forthcoming new Biodiversity Strategy includes measures for species conservation and recovery

Threats

  • Overgrazing by deer is a serious threat to the longevity of woolly willow.
  • Climate change reduces the snow lie that protects the plants from browsing animals in spring.

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