Cutting of tree mallow in progress
Clearance of tree mallow on Craigleith 2006.
Craigleith showing clearance zone
Craigleith with cleared area in foreground.
Recovery of native vegetation following tree mallow removal

Recovery of native vegetation following cutting of tree mallow in 2005.

Latest news on management

Our online survey and local surveys indicated that there was a desire for conservation action (Fischer and Van der Wal, 2006), if low-risk strategies are employed, such as manually cutting the tree mallow. As a response to this a 5-year management plan has been developed aimed at reducing the extent of tree mallow on the island of Craigleith to increase the density of breeding puffins and their habitat. The desired end point is the creation of large zones on the island where tree mallow is of no hindrance to puffins or cliff vegetation.

Progress to date:

A programme of management work has now been embarked upon (September 2006). Two zones that were previously identified to be suitable for cutting have been cleared with the help of numerous local volunteers. Importantly, conservation action continues to be community-based. Monitoring is in place to evaluate whether intervention has the desired positive effects envisaged, without major undesired side effects. The expectation is that in 5-10 years time the majority of the island is free of tree mallow and that low-level maintenance will suffice to keep the island in an ecologically favourable state. Previous small scale removal has been very successful with recovery of the native vegetation and an increase in the number of occupied puffin burrows within a single year following cutting.

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