Offering new life to remnant pinewoods

About 6,000 years ago an estimated 1.5m hectares of Scotland was covered in rich native pinewoods. Now only about 1% of this original forest is left, broken down into small and isolated fragments. Much of the wildlife dependent on the forest has been lost.

Many of these fragments of Caledonian Pinewood are not being actively managed in a way which nurtures the native trees and wildlife. Consequently, there are often no young trees growing to replace the much older and often lone ‘Granny pines’ that are characteristic of these remnant areas.

The Caledonian Pinewood Recovery Project aims to save these remnant pinewoods.

Over the next two to three years, Trees for Life, working in partnership with Woodland Trust Scotland, will assess the health of the remaining pinewood fragments. We will work with landowners to promote their better management, and thus restore and protect Scotland’s unique pinewoods for the future.

The work is funded until the end of 2020.

The CPR Project aims to:

  • understand the current ecological health of the Caledonian Pinewood remnants across Scotland
  • assess the resilience of these remnants to future threats such as disease and climate change
  • work with the landowners of these remnants to understand the difficulties they face when attempting to manage them
  • work with landowners and project partner organisations to find better ways to work together on pinewood management
  • understand how new forestry grant schemes can be more attractive to landowners with Caledonian Pinewood remnants
  • bring degraded Caledonian Pinewood remnants into management which enables them to grow and thrive.

The legacy of the project will be a series of pinewood assessment and suggestions for management work that landowners can implement in the medium to long term. Thus, restoring and protecting Caledonian Pinewood remnants and improving our understanding of these unique woodlands.

We will initially concentrate CPR work on the 84 Caledonian Pinewood Inventory (CPI) sites.  The CPI was an assessment of pinewoods across Scotland completed by Forestry Commission Scotland in the mid 1990s based on the then available knowledge base.  After this, resources allowing, we will look to extend the work to pinewood remnants that, for various reasons, are missing from the CPI.

Download a map of currently known Caledonian Pinewood Inventory sites here.


Trees for Life Project Manager, Fiona Holmes, will work with partner organisations to ensure the project brings together the best contemporary science and understanding about restoring and managing remnant pinewoods.  In addition, she will work with SLE to develop relationships with various private landowners of remnant pinewoods.

Trees for Life Project Officer, James Rainey, will concentrate on developing ecological and resilience survey methodologies, completing the field surveys, and writing up woodland management proposals.

Peter Lowe, Senior Outreach Advisor for Woodland Trust Scotland will work with Fiona to coordinate and focus WTS efforts towards the project success, which will include the assistance of two WTS Outreach Advisors, Alan Crawford and Alasdair Firth who are already working in the ancient woodland field across the Highlands.

For further information about the project, contact Fiona Holmes on 01309 691292 or

As well as working in close partnership with Woodland Trust Scotland, we will also have the help of NatureScot, Scottish Forestry, Forestry and Land Scotland and Scottish Land and Estates.

The project has been made possible by grant funding from Esmeé Fairbairn Foundation, Woodland Trust Scotland, Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, HDH Wills Charitable Trust and the Paul and Louise Cooke Endowment as well as generous donations from many of our individual supporters.