Million pound grant to 'roll out rainforest' around Scottish mountain - The Woodland Trust

Woodland Trust Scotland is to receive £1m+ through the Forestry Grant Scheme to expand rare Scottish rainforest around the slopes of a Highland mountain.

Ben Shieldaig in Torridon currently hosts a pine rainforest on one flank with a birch rainforest on another, covering a total area of 100ha.

The FGS payment of £1,017,071.27 over five years will fund planting on a further 260.56ha with Woodland Trust self-funding an additional 85.62ha.

In total nearly half a million native trees will be planted – mostly Scots pine, birch and willow but also including oak, aspen, alder, hazel, and juniper.

Scotland’s rainforest is made up of the native woodlands found on our west coast in the ‘hyper-oceanic’ zone. High levels of rainfall and relatively mild temperatures year-round provide just the right conditions for some of the world’s rarest bryophytes and lichens.

Trees alone do not immediately create a Scottish rainforest, but with the rare habitat on the mountain already, the range of mosses, liverworts, lichens, ferns and other species that characterise it will be able to spread out and colonise the new areas of woodland over time.

Ben Shieldaig and its surrounds teem with iconic Scottish wildlife including sea eagle, golden eagle, red squirrel, pine marten and otter. The UK’s smallest dragonfly, the black darter and the vulnerable azure hawker dragonfly have both been recorded here as well as the Red Data Book listed hover fly Callicera rufa.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Scotland’s rainforest area is a hugely important habitat, full of biodiversity and home to some of the world’s rarest lichens and bryophytes. Protecting and enhancing this unique woodland area in Scotland is essential.

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Posted On: 25/05/2023

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