Rewilding the Highlands: The Caledonian Forest Restoration Project

Trees for Life’s Rewilding the Highlands proposes to deliver one of the most inspiring examples of rewilding in the UK, by enhancing and significantly expanding native Caledonian forest habitats on our Dundreggan Conservation Estate in Glenmoriston, while helping others to begin their own forest restoration initiatives.

Our ambition is to develop Dundreggan into one of Scotland’s finest native woodlands, abundant in wildlife, and protected for generations to come. At the same time, we will help the emerging community woodland project in Glen Garry protect their native woodland fragments. Opportunities for wildlife watching will grow and Glenmoriston and Glen Garry will become better known as destinations for visitors interested in the outdoors.

Rewilding the Highlands will be delivered over three years (2016-18) with a total of 170ha and 200,000 trees planned, and in 2016 has five components:

1. Work with volunteers to plant three areas of land at Dundreggan Conservation Estate. In 2016 (Phase 1) we plan to fence at least 30 hectares and plant 35,000 trees. Long-term Volunteers resident at Dundreggan for 1-3 months at a time will also help clear non-native species, conserve black grouse and other moorland birds, and take part in other re-wilding tasks while receiving coaching and training from our accredited group leaders;

2. With the assistance of volunteers, grow substantially more rare montane tree species in the Dundreggan nursery (10,000 trees per annum);

3. Launch our linked Project Wolf initiative, where volunteers will be used to create a pattern of disturbance of deer within the Dundreggan woodlands and fringes which, along with other measures, will enable natural tree regeneration to flourish.

4. Support the local community at Invergarry, to re-wild their newly acquired Glengarry Community Woodland. This will involve volunteers planting 500 native trees and running a series of cultural rewilding events.

5. To launch Rewilding the Highlands – a symbolic walking journey (3 days) from Dundreggan to Invergarry via Fort Augustus (on an old cattle droving route), planting small groves of native trees at key places. 

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