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Forestry and Land Scotland has been awarded a £25,000 grant by NatureScot to for riparian enhancement work on the Garple Burn, which lies on the northern edge of Galloway Forest Park.

The Nature Restoration Fund award will see non-native conifer removed from the banks of the burn (approx. 5ha total) and make it a more attractive habitat for salmon and trout.  

The work will also have a knock-on effect further downstream, stabilising the water quality feeding into Loch Doon, which has a SSSI designation for its Arctic Charr population.

Kim Kirkbride, FLS Environment Forester in the area, said;

“Modern forestry includes the use of open space and mixed broadleaf planting on a rivers banks to create a habitat that is much more welcoming for fish. It helps regulate water temperature, increases potential food sources for fish and improves water quality.

“Old forestry practices of 70 years ago allowed conifer planting directly up to the burn edge so projects like this, that will remove the non-native conifer from the water’s edge, will encourage fish populations back to the Garple Burn.

“The mixed broadleaf that will eventually grow here will provide a dual species benefit as it will also provide a food source for the Black Grouse in the area when brood rearing

“We very much appreciate the award from NatureScot. Without this award we would not have been in a position to plan for this restoration for several years.”

Ayrshire Rivers Trust has agreed to monitor this stretch of water post non-native conifer removal to see how long it takes for the fish to return to the burn – it is hoped the survey of the site will be repeated frequently in future years to show an increase in fish presence

Additional planned felling work in the area will also remove potential seed source and limit natural regeneration of non-native conifers.

NatureScot Head of Biodiversity, Dr Katherine Leys said:

“The Nature Restoration Fund supports projects that help wildlife and habitats recover and thrive.  This is an excellent example, with non-native conifers removed to help improve water quality and encourage fish like salmon and trout back to the Garple Burn.

“We’re delighted to be able to give this project the boost it needed to get started.  Through Scotland’s largest-ever nature fund, we’ll be supporting many more projects to tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis by putting Scotland’s species, woodlands, rivers and seas back on the road to recovery.”

The Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund is currently seeking expressions of interest from small and medium projects aiming to start work this year, with grants of up to £250k available. For more information and to apply see the NatureScot website.


Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.
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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 07785 527590 or