The team examined the DNA of more than 800 beech trees at 42 locations across Great Britain and made direct comparisons with trees growing on mainland Europe.
The study -- funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) -- shows almost all of the beeches growing in Great Britain the researchers tested, are derived from native populations and, as a result, could not have been planted from abroad.
Professor - Alistair - Jump - University - Stirling
Professor Alistair Jump, of the University of Stirling's Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy, said: "The beech tree has been experiencing an identity crisis in Scotland. Evidence shows that the European beech was mainly confined to the south-east of England after the last Ice Age. However, this tree now occurs throughout Scotland and has been considered 'not native' by many land managers.
"This tree can colonise ancient woodland in Scotland, and is sometimes removed because it...
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