Trees for Life has the goal of restoring the Caledonian Forest, and all its constituent species of flora and fauna to the Scottish highlands. It enlists volunteers of all ages in the practical work to achieve this, and promotes the work of restoration and increased support for the return of the forest.
Lone winter pine.
Trees for Life’s Rewilding the Highlands project aims to establish one of the UK’s most inspiring examples of rewilding – featuring habitat creation for endangered or rare wildlife such as golden eagle, Scottish wildcat, red squirrel and pine marten, the planting of 50,000 trees, a boost for wildlife tourism, and 10,000 rare montane tree species being grown each year to re-establish higher altitude woodlands. Centrepiece of the project is Dundreggan Conservation Estate – a ‘lost world’ biodiversity hotspot where more than 3,000 species have been discovered, including 10 found nowhere else in the UK and others that are extremely rare. The 4,000-hectare estate welcomes over 300 volunteers annually, part of an exciting 250-year vision to save Scotland's ancient Caledonian Forest. Engaging with local communities is an important part of the initiative, including support to enhance biodiversity at nearby community project Glengarry Community Woodland. This project will:
- introduce people to the concept of rewilding via planting and biodiversity skills days for the public
- involve local communities in rewilding events, including planting small groves of native trees in key places
- expand native woodland and Dundreggan and Glengarry by creating 3 new areas of native woodlands over 200 hectares and planting 50,000 trees.
Tree Planting at Dundreggan. Image Craig Dickson
- School pupils and community members have been encouraged to help collect local seed which Trees for Life will grow at the Dundreggan tree nursery before planting out in 2018/19, once ground has been left fallow for a year after the removal of non native trees.
- A tree planting day was held for pupils and local community members, extracting seeds from locally collected rowan berries and planting out small saplings in holding beds.
- One biodiversity skills day was held at Dundreggan involving 25 school children, monitoring trees in the regeneration zone and learning about deer management
- Six rewilding conservation weeks were run, focussing on working in the tree nursery preparing trees for planting and planting over 40,000 trees with the aim of planting 200,000 by 2018.
- Project Wolf – three groups of volunteers spent every night for three months patrolling the fringes of the forest to mimic the presence of wolves
- A Rewilding journey involving local communities and outdoor enthusiasts and 2 cultural events
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