Reconnecting Argyll’s rainforest

ARGYLL and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (ACT) is creating 55 hectares of native woodland in Argyll over the next five years thanks to new funding.

Argyll & Bute’s rainforest is temperate rainforest, and consists of an increasingly rare and threatened habitat of ancient native woodland, open glades, boulders, rocky cliffs, and river gorges that form a backdrop for some of the best scenery in Argyll & Bute. The hyper-oceanic climate, gentle slopes, deeply penetrating sea lochs and island network of Argyll & Bute provide perfect growing conditions for this diverse habitat.

Half of what remains of Scotland’s rainforest can be found in Argyll & Bute. It is a diverse habitat that supports a variety of plants and animals such as oak, ash, birch, hazel and Scots pine trees, ferns and fungi, songbirds, birds of prey, butterflies and mammals like red squirrels and pine martens.

This inherently rich diversity of flora, fauna and fungi means that the restoration and expansion of Argyll’s rainforest can play a key role in Scotland meeting its biodiversity targets and achieving net-zero by 2045, by sequestering atmospheric co2 in long-standing natural woodlands.

The new funding is part of a 100 million trees global reforestation initiative, supported by Priceless Planet Coalition Fund and delivered by Conservation International. The funding means that we can work with even more communities and landowners in Argyll to restore our native temperate rainforest by planting 100,000 trees – our rainforest of the future.

ACT woodland coordinator Ian Dow said, “With this funding, we can reach more communities and work on a larger scale than we have done before. We’re excited to work as part of a global initiative on a shared goal to restore native woodlands across the planet.”

Scotland’s rainforest consists of an increasingly rare and threatened habitat of ancient native woodland. Only 30,000 hectares of Scotland’s rainforest remains. This is an area approximately the size of Edinburgh.

One of the main issues is that small surviving patches of rainforest are widely dispersed. This means that the natural rainforest ecosystem struggles to regenerate itself. ACT is working to combat this by bringing 100,000 trees back to the landscape. By planting new native woodland and expanding existing woodland, we’re helping to reconnect our rainforest. And more native trees means that more native seeds can spread naturally around Argyll, encouraging a new generation of trees to take root.

Julie Young, ACT chief executive said, “Reconnecting Argyll’s rainforest is a huge challenge which needs collaborative working and significant funding to allow us to deliver restoration on the scale that will have a lasting impact.”

Find out more here

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