Scottish Highlands to be transformed by major rewilding project
A vast expanse of the Scottish Highlands to be redesigned as part of a 30-year project to restore nature
An area equivalent to 250,000 football pitches is to be re-bagged as part of an ambitious project to bring nature back to the Scottish Highlands.
Announced Thursday, the Affric Highlands initiative will involve planting trees, restoring peatlands, connecting wildlife habitats and restoring river corridors of over 500,000 acres.
The 30-year rewilding project will encompass Loch Ness, the Kintail mountain range and the valleys of Cannich, Affric, Moriston and Shiel.
Affric Highlands will be one of the largest rewilding projects in Europe. It has been added to Rewilding Europe’s growing network of large-scale nature restoration projects. Others include the Danube Delta in Ukraine, Romania and Moldova, the Southern Carpathians of Romania, and Swedish Lapland.
The initiative is the result of three years of consultation between Rewilding Europe, the Trees for Life charity, local communities and landowners. Organizers hope this will give the region an economic boost. Work is expected to start in 2023.
“Affric Highlands will take large-scale nature recovery to a new level, at the same time providing a catalyst for the local economy,” said Steve Micklewright, Managing Director of Trees for Life. “The Highlands have enormous potential to help nature return and thus help people thrive, and to make a leading contribution to tackling global climate and natural emergencies. “
Organizers hope Affric Highlands will boost nature tourism in the region. Image: Trees for Life
Trees for Life is expected to open the world’s first rewilding center in Scotland in 2023. The association is already working on a restoration project for ancient Caledonian forest and has planted nearly two million trees in its own 10,000 estate. acres at Dundreggan in Glenmoriston.
“Affric Highlands is a bold, exciting and inspiring endeavor to restore nature as Scotland moves up the biodiversity rankings,” said Frans Schepers, Managing Director of Rewilding Europe.
“Including Affric Highlands in our portfolio of large European rewilding areas will help amplify the impact of rewilding in the Highlands and place it firmly on the world map. “
Rewilding the nine great hitters of Europe
1. Great Côa Valley, Portugal
2. Danube Delta in Ukraine, Romania and Moldova
3. Southern Carpathians, Romania
4. Velebit Mountains, Croatia
5. Central Apennines, Italy
6. Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria
7. Oder Delta in Germany and Poland
8. Swedish Lapland
9. Affric Highlands, Scotland
Main picture: Grant Willoughby / Trees For Life