Scottish island community celebrates UK forest-first - Forest Stewardship Council

A partnership between Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) and TreeStory (FSC®-N004333) has been successful in achieving the first FSC Ecosystem Services impact verification in the UK for Ardura Forest, on the Isle of Mull.

It may be easy to measure the economic value of forest products, but the other vital services provided by forests can be harder to quantify. FSC Ecosystem Services (ES) impact verification builds on FSC Forest Management Certification by providing forest managers and owners with a framework for protecting these benefits and scientifically measuring the impacts of their efforts. It enables impacts to be verified for biodiversity conservation, carbon storage, water purification, soil regeneration and recreation provision.

This trailblazing partnership between the Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT), who bought and began managing Ardura forest in 2019, and TreeStory, an ecologically focused forestry and green investment consultancy, has verified impacts both for biodiversity and recreation services.

Ardura Community Forest consists of some relatively small areas of intact ancient semi-natural native woodland, areas of plantation forestry and a range of open habitats including grassland, heathland and mire (swamp/bog). There are also numerous veteran trees, particularly oaks and hollies, still present across much of the footprint of the ancient woodland, although many are now surrounded and threatened by non-native Sitka spruce. Community volunteers undertake activities to protect these isolated veteran trees and restore native Atlantic woodland habitats and associated lichen communities.

Through their management, MICT has demonstrated restoration of natural forest cover and conservation of natural forest characteristics. MICT has also undertaken activities to support nature-based recreation in the Ardura area through the construction of paths and facilities as well as hosting forest school sessions.

One of MICT’s objectives for pursuing FSC ES impact verification is to facilitate access to public and private finance to enable restoration practices at Ardura and to generate an alternative revenue stream from the forest to fund wider community benefits on the Isle of Mull.

Moray Finch, MICT General Manager commented, “We're over the moon to achieve this verification and are so pleased that we chose TreeStory as our project partner, as they share our concern for the environment. We hope the impact verification will convince potential partners that our project is founded on sound principles for restoring biodiversity and providing recreational access to nature".

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Posted On: 01/09/2023

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