Conservation charity Trees for Life has announced an ambitious new five year plan. The goal is to double its current rate of restoration work in Scotland's Caledonian Forest, with the establishment of one million more trees by planting and natural regeneration in the next half decade.
The charity's new Million More Trees campaign builds on the charity's first million, reported here in March. It is, they say, a response to environmental problems including deforestation, climate change and biodiversity loss. But it could also bring significant benefits to Scotland's economy by boosting wildlife tourism, they suggest, a claim supported by a recent report on nature tourism covered earlier this month on UKH.
'Establishing a million new native trees in the next five years represents a significant scaling up of our work. We have set ourselves this challenge as a response to the threats posed by environmental degradation globally and human-induced climate change' said Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life's executive director.
'At the same time it is part of a positive vision of re-establishing world-class wild landscapes rich in wildlife in Scotland. The Highlands in particular, with a lot of empty land and a low population density, is a perfect region for tree planting.'
'With wildlife tourism already generating an estimated £276 million a year for the Scottish economy, it's clear that restoring the Caledonian Forest and its unique wildlife to an inspiring, spectacular wilderness region of 1,000 square miles could have significant economic as well as environmental benefits for the country.'
Trees for Life's plans for the next year include significant planting of native trees on the charity's Dundreggan estate near Loch Ness; a natural regeneration project in a Caledonian Forest remnant in Glen Strathfarrar; and work to protect regenerating aspens as well as the planting of new aspen seedlings at Scatwell, to the north of Inverness.
The first tree of the Million More Trees campaign was planted at Dundreggan by Roy Dennis, Trees for Life patron and Highlands naturalist, author and presenter.
Since 1989 the charity has created 4000 hectares of new Caledonian Forest across 45 different locations. In these re-emerging forests habitat restoration is making a notable impact on biodiversity, they claim.