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A project to enhance and expand ancient and native woodland and improve habitat connectivity at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber has received £96,300 from the Scottish Government’s Biodiversity Challenge Fund.
The Glen Mallie Forest Edge Restoration Project will include the removal of non-native tree regeneration. Young spruce and lodgepole pine trees will be felled and left to decompose.
The goal is to restore these areas to low-density native woodland edge, which will provide important habitat for many species, including: black grouse, butterflies, dragonflies, and lichen.
Woodland Trust Scotland acquired Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in 2016 in close partnership with local group Arkaig Community Forest. Together, they have long term plans to restore the ancient Caledonian pinewood while stimulating economic activity in the local community.
Dr Jessica Maxwell, Loch Arkaig Pine Forest Project Development Manager, said: ‘Receiving this support from the Biodiversity Challenge Fund means that we can address a major threat to the survival and restoration of this ancient woodland. A local firm, Broc Contracting, has been awarded the contract for this work, increasing local employment and rural development opportunities.’
The Biodiversity Challenge Fund specifically encourages applicants with innovative projects that improve biodiversity and address the impact of climate change, by increasing the resilience of our most at-risk habitats and species and creating large areas of brand new habitat.
Loch Arkaig – Glen Mallie Forest Edge Restoration is one of 16 successful projects across Scotland announced in the second round of the £4 million Biodiversity Challenge Fund. The projects will take practical steps to improve natural habitats, safeguard plant and animal species and improve biodiversity.
The Biodiversity Challenge Fund adds to the many millions of pounds of Scottish Government funding delivered through the Scottish Rural Development Programme and other sources to support biodiversity and help to deliver Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy.
SNH Chief Executive, Francesca Osowska, said: ‘As lockdown conditions lift, green recovery projects like the Biodiversity Challenge Fund put nature, and nature-based solutions, at the heart of rebuilding our economy.
‘But it’s not just about conservation – enriching our nature is also part of the solution to the climate emergency too. People know that climate change is a big issue but not as many know that biodiversity loss is also a global and generational threat to human well-being.
‘Nature is at the heart of what we do, and we will continue to deliver the transformational change needed to bring a nature-rich, sustainable and more economically secure future for Scotland.’