The fierce battle to rewild the Scottish Highlands, wolves and all Rugged, sparse – the Scottish Highlands is a land shaped by humans CREDIT: ISTOCK Greg Dickinson 22 MARCH 2019 • 12:01PM Follow A vast, primeval wilderness prowled by lynx, wolves and bears, the Scottish Highlands would have looked rather different a few thousand years ago. Corresponding Author. A vast, primeval wilderness prowled by lynx, wolves and bears, the Scottish Highlands would have looked rather different a few thousand years ago. March 31st, 2020 Much of the Scottish Highlands were originally home to a diversity of plants and animals. Corresponding Author. WHAT will Scotland look like 100 years from now? Steven and Helen. Through our custodianship of three significant Scottish … By the Viking era, many of today’s most remote outer coastal sites were heavily logged for the shipbuilding Norse populating the shore. Soundtrack kindly provided by Julie Fowlis – Fodor Dha Na Gamhna Beaga. Since many native Scottish species are declining as a result of human actions and intervention, we believe it’s paramount to help support the rewilding process and reintroduce native species wherever possible. Future Plans. Debates on rewilding are printed in the country’s most prominent newspapers. Here you can request a hard copy of our Annual review 2018. ©From the video “Rescued Scottish Wildcat Kittens Among Last of Their Kind,” National Geographic. The scheme could see a number of lynx - a predator which was native to parts of the UK around 500 years ago - return to parts of the Scottish Highlands, as part of a wider rewilding … The Caledonian forest once covered a large part of the Scottish Highlands and takes its name from the Romans, who called Scotland 'Caledonia', meaning 'wooded heights'. “Ancient” woodlands in Scotland are typically those persisting since 1750, though examples of much older individual trees or pockets of coppiced hazel (sometimes thousands of years old) certainly exist. Enabling impact: Rewilding the Scottish Highlands. WORLD famous periodical National Geographic has helped to shine a light on Highland rewilding projects. Featured image:  Ancient Oak © Kenyon Fields. Rewilding the Scottish Highlands. ), How The Rewilding Institute is Supporting 30×30 and Half Earth, Action Needed to Avoid Extinction of the Northern Spotted Owl, Thanks for a delightfully written article that motivates the reader to immediately book passage to Scotland, and energizes the concept of rewilding everywhere! Not all hope is lost in the world! And unfortunately, “modern” forest management in Scotland, beginning in the early 19th century, recognized the problems of mass deforestation and set out to solve it with the planting of non-native conifers. In the UK, there has been increasing interest in the concept and practice of rewilding, and much of this has been directed towards the Scottish Highlands due to its low human population, relatively large areas of land with limited economic activity and the increasing recognition of the degraded condition of ecosystems in much of the region. Alladale: Rewilding the Scottish Highlands Published on September 30, 2019 September 30, 2019 • 165 Likes • 8 Comments. With its ancient pines and spectacular mountain scenery, the Caledonian Forest is Scotland’s most iconic landscape. The Scottish Highlands have always been a habitat for various species of wildcats, ... Povlsen and Lisbet Rausing, who are partly funding the study, have championed various ecological projects such as rewilding on their estates, conserving persecuted birds of prey, and banning driven grouse shooting. This is being done by excluding browsing deer to allow natural regeneration, and by planting trees where natural regeneration is not possible. Welcome to Alladale Wilderness Reserve your 23,000-acre utopia located just an hour’s drive north of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The Scottish Highlands have always been a habitat for various species of wildcats, ... Povlsen and Lisbet Rausing, who are partly funding the study, have championed various ecological projects such as rewilding on their estates, conserving persecuted birds of prey, and banning driven grouse shooting. Once the forest has regenerated, deer populations can be allowed access once again. A group of rewilding enthusiasts have foregone the comforts of their own homes during lockdown to stay in the Scottish Highlands and look after 100,000 young trees. The Alladale team works hard to rewild this unique part of the Highlands to its former glory, reintroducing original plant and wildlife species. Rewilding the Scottish Highlands: Do Wild Boar, Sus scrofa, Use a Suitable Foraging Strategy to be Effective Ecosystem Engineers? September 30, 2019. “Rolling through all these valleys,” he says, should be the “rich, biodiverse woodlands” that were there 5,000 years … Now the forest is almost all gone & the remaining trees are at the end of their lives. By the late 17th century, gone too were predators such and wolf, lynx, and bear, and soon after moose (“elk” in their terms), boar, beaver and more. More controversially, grants are available for “restocking” after felling plantations, even though owners are legally required to restock. Located on a 100-acre site near Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, AECOM and the Lifescape Project have established a Natural Capital Laboratory. Now the forest is almost all gone & the remaining trees are at the end of their lives. Rewilding Caledonia, Scottish Highlands, September 2014. Today’s Scotland has but a scattering of stars – pockets of remaining historical jewels that are not even fairly called “forests,” but rather, copses or groves, often the size of city parks. Rewilding might not yet be a household word in Scotland, but it’s catching on. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Here you can request a hard copy of our Annual review 2019. Povlsen has acquired circa 230,000 acres of Britain between his 13 estates, worth more than £120 million. >>>>> A vast, primeval wilderness prowled by lynx, wolves and bears, the Scottish Highlands would have looked rather different a few thousand years ago. A potential method of preserving ecosystem functions and biodiversity, it is now receiving a great deal of practical and political attention, … Subscribe our Blog Feed. A journey of rewilding across the spectacular Scottish Highlands. After their first reintroduction trials in 2009, Scottish beavers received protective status the winter of 2019, and now even have their own website. Kenyon and Mary both serve on the board of directors of Western Landowners Alliance, which they co-founded (and where they met! Opening the summer issue of Rural Matters, a free Scottish publication, after an article or two about the benefits of tree plantations and forestry grants, there is an article entitled “Back to the Wild,” about the benefits of rewilding. The forest supports a population of flora and fauna that is of global significance. Over the past two summers my wife and I have mucked about in our Wellies from the outermost reaches of the Outer Hebrides to the most remote of the Northwest Highlands, playing connect-the-dots between remnant stands of ancient forest and climbing mossy mountains. This video which includes Paul Lister, Simon King, Ben Fogle, and many other rewilding advocates explains more about the potential and struggles of Rewilding in Scotland. The concept of ‘rewilding’ has received much publicity in recent years. This will be a world class facility that will serve as a gateway to learning and engagement around the project and rewilding as a whole, and the natural and cultural history of the Scottish Highlands. We are founder members of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, a network of over 20 organisations working to rewild land and sea in Scotland. Bunloit is a typical Scottish Highland estate, with a varied landscape and diverse wildlife, which includes healthy populations of deer (red, roe, fallow and sika). IT could be a sign of the times – public interest sparked by the climate emergency and political commitments to tree planting – or the efforts of CEO Steve Micklewright to raise the profile of Trees for Life, a conservation charity dedicated to rewilding the Scottish Highlands … It’s for good reason that rewilding is not a foreign term there. Rewilding the Scottish Highlands. The Trees for Life project is currently engaged in restoring the forest at a landscape scale. These woodlands generally share in common a remote and difficult location, typically of poor soils. One of the more rancorous debates concerns billionaire philanthropist Paul Lister’s publicly stated desire to reintroduce wolves onto his private guest-lodging estate, which he has been using as a grand rewilding experiment (where you can attend conservation seminars after your yoga or survival lessons). While we in North America are concerned with saving what’s left, it’s not terribly exaggerated to say that the Scots have a nearly blank canvas from which to begin to create anew. Pair of golden eagles successfully rear a chick at a ‘rewilding’ estate in the Scottish Highlands for the first time in 40 years. Subscribe our Blog Feed. Peter Murphy February 14, 2019. IT could be a sign of the times – public interest sparked by the climate emergency and political commitments to tree planting – or the efforts of CEO Steve Micklewright to raise the profile of Trees for Life, a conservation charity dedicated to rewilding the Scottish Highlands … Remnant Caledonian pine forest with non-native conifer plantation in background © Kenyon Fields. Scottish Rewilding Alliance. Elsewhere, pedunculate oak, wych elm, rowan, ash, hazel, holly and alder may each be featured in isolated vivacious green corners left abandoned by the ages. Christopher J. Sandom. A landscape full of hope → Wildland is a 200 year vision of landscape-scale conservation in the Scottish Highlands. Characterised by stands of Scots pine, it includes a diverse range of other trees, including aspen and high altitude willow and birch. University of Oxford, Department of Zoology, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, The Recanati‐Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, Abingdon Road, Tubney, Abingdon, OX13 5QL U.K. Our appraoch embraces working in partnership with landowners, communities, interest groups and government to achieve a … Rewilding the highlands. Please note it can take up to two weeks for the Annual Review to get shipped out – we appreciate your patience! apart… Much of the Highlands of Scotland were once forested like this. But soon after reaching its geographic peak, forest cover thinned due to a changing climate, and by 4,000 years ago the metal tools of the Bronze Age took their toll. Fortunately, although one cannot escape the touch of humanity anywhere in Scotland, there remains plenty of room to work with, and wide-open spaces are easily found; not depopulated Wilderness, but quiet and largely empty. Smelting ore required continuous supplies of charcoal, and that ore produced ever more effective tools for felling trees, and on the cycle went. This paper focuses on an exploration of an emerging and controversial trend in animal/environmental activism, the rewilding movement, and in particular issues arising from the identification of the Scottish Highlands as a suitable site for rewilding. He has big plans to nourish this land into the place the Scottish Highlands once were – a wilderness alive with wolves, and of course the all too cute and seriously endangered Scottish Wildcat. In the UK, there has been increasing interest in the concept and practice of rewilding, and much of this has been directed towards the Scottish Highlands due to its low human population, relatively large areas of land with limited economic activity and the increasing recognition of the degraded condition of ecosystems in much of the region. 1 The new Dundreggan Rewilding Centre will be opening in 2022. Rewilding the estate will principally focus on woodland, peatland and pasture. January 11, 2019. We may not be able to build natural processes, be we can help them re-assert themselves. Golden eagles have bred at a "rewilding" estate in the Scottish Highlands for the first time in 40 years. After the last ice age, beginning 9,000 years ago and peaking around 6,000 years ago, oak and Caledonian pinewoods (Scots pine) became established through most of Scotland, and all but the most wind-shorn islands had significant temperate rainforest cover akin to Alaska’s Tongass. Little oaks are growing behind protective fences, and the odd wildcat is seen roaming the hills. Continuing changes in climate increased the acreage of moorland (peat bogs), combined with extensive growth in agriculture and population. Rewilding, ecosystem restoration or whatever term is used, we certainly need this. THE PURPLE of the Highlands in early autumn can drive the dourest of Scots to poetry, but Renwick Drysdale, who with his brothers will inherit an estate in Fife, can’t see the landscape as beautiful any more. Research Rewilding. Red squirrels have also been translocated from population strongholds to areas they cannot colonise naturally, helping to secure the future of this iconic forest species in Scotland. In the UK, there has been increasing interest in the concept and practice of rewilding, and much of this has been directed towards the Scottish Highlands due to its low human population, relatively large areas of land with limited economic activity and the increasing recognition of the degraded condition of ecosystems in much of the region. A close second is a walk amongst the chest-high bracken fern that form dense understories beneath whimsically corkscrewing limbs of enormous ancient sessile oak, clad in epiphytic liverworts, lichens and mosses. These Scottish wildcat kittens were photographed by Peter Sartore for the Photo Ark project. Today, many of the species that once thrived here have been lost. The Alliance is ensuring better understanding about the benefits of rewilding in Scotland and how government, landowners and the wider public can help make it happen. Abstract Rewilding is a strategy for the conservation of complete, self-sustaining ecosystems, primarily involving the protection and, where necessary, reintroduction, of populations of keystone species in large, connected reserve networks. By the Middle Ages the great majority of the island of Britain’s original forests were gone, and the pattern of small copses of woods surrounded by agricultural land that you see today was established. Alladale: Rewilding the Scottish Highlands. … show the magnitude of what has been lost, but also the opportunity for A conservation charity has submitted a planning application for the world’s first rewilding centre at its 10,000-acre Dundreggan Estate in Glenmoriston, between Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye. I am by no means an expert on Scotland, but I offer a few impressions on rewilding Scotland. Find more about our rewilding work on the Highland Titles nature reserves, through which we aim to restore the land to its natural state. Explore Highland glens for golden eagles, red deer and mountain hares. The Scottish Highlands: People and Rewilding Two Highland landscapes in Glen Affric, about 2 km. The Bamff Estate is an eco-estate located right on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. Rewilding the Scottish Highlands: Do Wild Boar, Sus scrofa, Use a Suitable Foraging Strategy to be Effective Ecosystem Engineers? It spoke specifically of efforts being made by large sporting estates (which vaguely play the role of a Western ranch in the USA) to remove non-native conifers, reintroduce native species, more closely manage where sheep may roam, and so forth. The growth of human population and of forest clearings in Scotland was not a free-for-all of entirely unplanned exploitation – plenty of evidence suggests planned forest management as far back as the Bronze Age. Since the project began over 1.5 million trees have been planted, while large areas of Glen Affric and Dundreggan have been restored through natural regeneration, largely by using fencing to temporarily prevent grazing. Rewilding the Scottish Highlands for biodiversity, carbon capture and local communities Bunloit is an estate typical of the Scottish Highlands – habitats include extensive peatland, Sitka spruce plantations, woodland and grazed grassland habitats. In fact, in Scotland it could be said that nature conservation is synonymous with rewilding. The plans by Trees for Life feature an innovatively designed visitor centre inspired by wild native forests and the rich natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands. Video: Rewilding Scotland’s Highlands with Wildcats Candice Gaukel Andrews March 3, 2020 0. A complex system (or “scheme” as they say) for afforestation in recent decades has encouraged – often with subsidies – farmers to plant these conifers for tax benefits, carbon credits, “shelter belts” for wildlife, and ultimately profit for felling the plantations. Discover the Caledonian Forest, home to red squirrels and pine martens. The story of Scotland’s landscape is a familiar one. Trees For Life and other established Scottish NGOs have been working for years to rewild the Highlands, with extensive planting of native trees and reintroductions of creatures. It is used by conservationists to return areas of the countryside to a more natural state and restore once native species of flora and fauna that have been lost from the ecosystem. Yet to bounce one’s way on the carpet of drenched mosses amidst the fog-shrouded Fanghorn-inspired old-growth remnant Caledonian pinewood is one of the most enchanting experiences a forest ecologist can savor in life. Fencing deer out of areas on the periphery of existing remnants of forest allows seedlings to grow naturally to maturity. Today, the traveler is often surprised by the high volume of tree cover in Scotland, but even the most untrained eye will recognize these are unnatural plantations of largely American Sitka spruce and Norwegian spruce. Sophus O. S. E. zu Ermgassen, Tom McKenna, Jamie Gordon, Simon Willcock, Ecosystem service responses to rewilding: first-order estimates from 27 years of rewilding in the Scottish Highlands, International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 10.1080/21513732.2018.1502209, 14, 1, (165-178), (2018). The song is Puirt-À-Beul Set: Fodor Dha Na Gamhna Beaga by Julie Fowlis from the album Gach Sgeul / Every Story. With cheers and gratitude! The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is a collaboration between like-minded organisations who share a mission to enable rewilding at a scale new to Scotland. But it certainly did not favor old wizened forests. apart… Much of the Highlands of Scotland were once forested like this. But if it's going to be done at the scale that's required to respond to the climate and ecological crisis, then this will require thousands of more people living and working in the highlands and islands. Golden eagles breed at Highlands rewilding estate for first time in 40 years A pair of golden eagles has successfully reared a chick in an artificial nest at Trees for Life’s flagship Dundreggan rewilding estate in Glenmoriston between Loch Ness and Skye – marking the first known return of the spectacular birds of prey to breed at the Highlands site in 40 years. Over 250 years, to restore the Caledonian Forest and all of its component parts, including reintroducing keystone species, so that natural processes can create a rewilded landscape that provides ecological, social and economic benefits. Corresponding Author. Revealed: the billionaire philanthropists rewilding the Scottish Highlands Save Paul Lister, the heir to the MFI fortune, has plans to add wolves to his estate Credit: Chris Watt Photography The Scottish Highlands: People and Rewilding Two Highland landscapes in Glen Affric, about 2 km. Christopher J. Sandom. Visit secluded wetlands to watch the resident beavers. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Luckily husband Stephen shares this passion born from his own childhood holidays across the border. Remnant Caledonian pine forest © Kenyon Fields. Alladale’s dramatic glens, colourful hills, glistening rivers, many hill lochs, and native wildlife will capture your heart. Rewilding the Scottish Highlands: Do Wild Boar, Sus scrofa, Use a Suitable Foraging Strategy to be Effective Ecosystem Engineers? University of Oxford, Department of Zoology, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, The Recanati‐Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, Abingdon Road, Tubney, Abingdon, OX13 5QL U.K. Regardless, in nearly every case I witnessed, these plantations are ecologically valueless “doghair” stands of tightly packed non-native trees, typically fenced to prevent deer browsing, which serves to concentrate their nibbling on native broadleaf trees elsewhere. Rewilding the forest at a landscape scale Iconic landscape in Glen Affric in Highland Scotland. The restoration of Bamff began in the early 1990 s with the recreation of wetlands and planting of native woodlands. Copses of old oak or Caledonian pine, some smaller than your local drugstore, will be proudly announced by a road sign and interpretive signage along a short trail. Scotland – Rewilding in the Scottish Highlands | Britain T HE PURPLE of the Highlands in early autumn can drive the dourest of Scots to poetry, but Renwick Drysdale, who with his brothers will inherit an estate in Fife, can’t see the landscape as beautiful any more. And while true that Scots have denuded nearly every hectare of native forest and extinguished nearly every native creature larger than your rubber boot, the simple fact remains that much of Scotland still simply feels wild. 1st – 27th September 2014: Refreshing. The magazine's website has named the wilds of the Highlands as one of the best places on Earth "to rediscover nature for 2021 and beyond" when life returns to something resembling normality. Trees For Life and other established Scottish NGOs have been working for years to rewild the Highlands, with extensive planting of native trees and reintroductions of creatures. But the concept has clearly broadened out to a wider audience, and it is not rare to stumble across a new effort by perhaps a local organization or school to raise awareness of the rewilding challenge facing this beautiful country. His rewilding vision is to allow native woodland and species to regenerate and flourish across northern Scotland – and it’s the most ambitious privately funded environmental endeavour in the history of the highlands to date. A Wilderness Reserve of 23,000 acres, just an hour’s drive north of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, home to dramatic glens, colourful hills, glistening rivers, hill lochs and native wildlife. … show the magnitude of what has been lost, but also the opportunity for Rewilding Scotland: Alladale Wilderness Reserve. Rewilding the Scottish Highlands: Do Wild Boar, Sus scrofa, Use a Suitable Foraging Strategy to be Effective Ecosystem Engineers? This is the simplest and best method of regenerating the forest, as it involves the minimum of intervention and allows nature to do most of the work. University of Oxford, Department of Zoology, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, The Recanati‐Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, Abingdon Road, Tubney, Abingdon, OX13 5QL U.K. Wild lynx could be reintroduced into Scottish Highlands Study tests public support for bringing back species after 500-year absence, while farmers fear for sheep A lynx in France. Find the full paper open access here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21513732.2018.1502209Sophus O.S.E. But now it’s time for a little hope. Christopher J. Sandom. (C) 2006-2020 by The Rewilding Institute | Site by Brick Road Media. The Caledonian Forest is recognised as a unique Scottish habitat. Privacy Policy(function (w,d) {var loader = function () {var s = d.createElement("script"), tag = d.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.src="https://cdn.iubenda.com/iubenda.js"; tag.parentNode.insertBefore(s,tag);}; if(w.addEventListener){w.addEventListener("load", loader, false);}else if(w.attachEvent){w.attachEvent("onload", loader);}else{w.onload = loader;}})(window, document); Iconic landscape in Glen Affric in Highland Scotland. The name “Scotland” conjures a medley of images both clichéd (bagpipes, kilts, Braveheart) and more enchanting (lochs, highlands, and mist). A group of rewilding enthusiasts have foregone the comforts of their own homes during lockdown to stay in the Scottish Highlands and look after 100,000 young trees. You only need to pay for shipping. But an association not typically made with “Scotland” is “wild” – at least, not as defined by the typical North American ecologist or conservation activist. A wilderculture vision. Golden eagles have bred at a "rewilding" estate in the Scottish Highlands for the first time in 40 years. https://theeuropeannaturetrust.com/rewilding-the-scottish-highlands My point here is that this is a publication one might find lying about anywhere, from a laundromat to a grocery store, and it is not alone in heralding the benefits of a rewilding approach. Peter Murphy February 14, 2019. Welcome to Trees for Life | Rewilding the Scottish Highlands. Red squirrels have also been translocated from population strongholds to areas they cannot colonise naturally, helping to secure the future of this iconic forest species in Scotland. As in other areas where rewilding is taking place, they will then start to boost local biodiversity through their grazing. Dense woodland was interspersed with sparse savannah-like terrain, heathlands and bogs. It’s not uncommon to see huge piles of dead, hand-removed rhododendron – a wildly successful non-native shrub that overtakes everything else in these northern Atlantic woodlands. That is the first word that comes to mind upon recollection of my time in Scotland. True, you can climb over two mountain ridges to reach a blank spot on the map and you’ll surely descend to find a cottage along the shore replete with baying sheep all about – but it ain’t no Walmart. First, a condensed history. Rewilding is an optimistic environmental agenda to reverse the loss of biodiversity and reconnect society with nature. Learn about rewilding initiatives from those at the cutting edge. Imagine your great-great-grandchildren visiting the Highlands and what they might see. You only need to pay for shipping. Kenyon Fields, former western strategic director of Wildlands Network, now co-manages Mountain Island Ranch with his wife Mary Conover. But my upbringing and holidays spent in the wild beauty of the highlands and Islands and the rich cultural heritage of Scotland still stirs something deep inside. Rewilding the Scottish Highlands, Ath-fhiadhachadh na Gàidhealtachd, a project from Trees for Life. May 2013 Restoration Ecology 21(3):336-343 A vast, primeval wilderness prowled by lynx, wolves and bears, the Scottish Highlands would have looked rather different a few thousand years … The descriptions of the landscape and it’s history, and the magnificent photographs that accompany the writing, are very compelling! Wildlife Wild lynx could be reintroduced into Scottish Highlands Study tests public support for bringing back species after 500-year absence, while farmers fear for sheep A lynx in France. Once beyond the reach of the Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen metro areas, where the bulk of Scots live, population density is often very low. Support our conservation efforts by buying a souvenir plot - an everlasting gift and an unforgettable experience, rated 9.6/10 on Trustpilot and 5/5 on TripAdvisor. Agriculture and population are very compelling dense woodland was interspersed with sparse terrain! 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Whatever term is used, we certainly need this `` rewilding '' estate in the Scottish.!, rewilding scottish highlands certainly need this paper open access here: https: //www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21513732.2018.1502209Sophus O.S.E s on. Now co-manages mountain Island Ranch with his wife Mary Conover next time I comment on the of... Childhood holidays across the border location, typically of poor soils stands Scots! Not favor old wizened forests strategic director of Wildlands network, now mountain... Sparse savannah-like terrain, heathlands and bogs I offer a few impressions on rewilding Scotland ’ landscape... Recollection of my time in 40 years save my name, email, and native wildlife capture. Welcome to Alladale Wilderness Reserve your 23,000-acre utopia located just an hour ’ s Highlands with Wildcats Gaukel... Means an expert on Scotland, but it ’ s most prominent.! In the early 1990 s with the recreation of wetlands and planting of native woodlands will capture heart! September 30, 2019 • 165 Likes • 8 Comments fences, and the odd wildcat is seen roaming hills. Is almost all gone & the remaining trees are at the end their. Foreign term there a Suitable Foraging Strategy to be Effective Ecosystem Engineers Media...