Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership launched

Public, private, community and NGO landowners join forces to restore Highland Perthshire natural woodland

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The Trust and four neighbouring landowners and a woodland charity have launched a new project to create a vibrant, native woodland landscape spread across 50 square kilometres in the area between Loch Rannoch, Loch Tummel and Loch Tay.

Representatives from Forest Enterprise Scotland, Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust (Dun Coillich), Dalchosnie & Kynachan Estate and the Scottish Wildlife Trust – which among them manage an extensive area of land in the geographical centre of mainland Scotland – were joined by Woodland Trust Scotland and the John Muir Trust at the foot of Schiehallion on Tuesday 18 July to celebrate the birth of the initiative.  

Other key supporters attending the launch included Courier columnist and leading nature writer Jim Crumley, who has strong connections to the area.

Dr Liz Auty, the John Muir Trust’s property manager at East Schiehallion, and a key player in the formation of the partnership, said: “We have a long term vision to turn this vast upland area into a living breathing landscape of native trees, woodland corridors, flourishing wildlife and picturesque footpaths.

“This project, we believe, can start to turn this landscape into a marvellous asset for the local community and a precious legacy for our children and grandchildren.”

Each partner will take forward different elements of the project. The John Muir Trust is spearheading the replacement of non-native conifers with broadleaf woodland and Scots pine. Seedling regeneration will be supported by sensitively sited fencing, allowing aspen, birch and rowan and willow – currently held in check by browsing –  to reach their potential. The Trust also plans to improve habitats for black grouse, willow warblers, wrens, whinchats and other species.

A further aim of the partnership is to bring locals and visitor closer to the land.  Willie McGhee of Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust, which manages the Dun Coillich woodland said: “We believe this project will benefit the local community right from the start by bringing new funding into the area, and creating training and employment opportunities. We want to encourage people to get involved, deepen their knowledge of nature and learn new skills.”

The Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership gratefully acknowledges funding support from Original Buff, S.A., through the European Outdoor Conservation Association, and the April Trust. You can support the ongoing Heart of Scotland Forest Appeal here.

Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership launch July 2017

Photos by Kevin Lelland show Heart of Scotland Forest partners and their guests at the launch celebrations by sunny Schiehallion.