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£1 million for Forth habitat restoration - NatureScot

Aerial view of the Inner Forth ©P&A Macdonald/NatureScot
Aerial view of the Inner Forth ©P&A Macdonald/NatureScot

Funding of £1 million has been announced for peatland and river restoration in the River Forth catchment as part of a major European Union (EU) project.

Over the next four years NatureScot, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), the James Hutton Institute and the University of Stirling will work in partnership to restore habitats across the Forth catchment area.

The award is part of the £18m EU MERLIN project coordinated by the University of Duisberg-Essen, which seeks to restore the functions of freshwater and peatland ecosystems across Europe to help tackle the twin crises of nature loss and climate change, and ensure a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic

The work in Scotland will include the restoration of several peat bogs and their vital carbon stores. It will also restore connections between the Allan Water and its floodplain, to contribute to natural flood management and the restoration of valuable wetland habitats. The funding will also include long-term evaluation and monitoring of the restoration work.

Dr Iain Sime from NatureScot said: “As all eyes turn towards the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, this funding has never been so timely. We know that nature and climate change are intrinsically linked – and that we need to tackle them both together, or we tackle neither. If we are to achieve net zero in Scotland by 2045, we have to focus on solutions based in nature. Through restoring and enhancing the natural habitats along the Forth, this exciting partnership project will play an important role in helping us mitigate and adapt to climate change, reduce carbon emissions and reverse nature loss. This project will also provide us with important lessons to rapidly upscale the most valuable solutions in time to meet our net zero and biodiversity targets.”

UKCEH lead Dr Amy Pickard said: “Ecological restoration should be seen as an investment in our natural capital on which communities and business depend, such as restoring river floodplains to reduce downstream flood risks in our towns and cities or storing carbon in peatlands to offset society’s emissions. At UKCEH we aim to evaluate the success of these goals.”

Posted on: 28 October 2021

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