Rainforest action boost for Forestry and Land Scotland
Forestry and Land Scotland is stepping up its activity to help save Scotland’s Rainforest thanks to £1.3 million of Scottish Government funding for recovery and restoration work.
As well as reinforcing FLS’s rhododendron removal work and deer management, the funding will also secure dedicated Rainforest staff who will liaise with other partners in the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforests to develop a long-term, strategic approach to safeguard this unique habitat.
FLS Environment Manager, Colin Edwards, said;
“The ‘rainforest zone’ contains around 30,325 ha of ‘core’ rainforest containing the oceanic bryophytes and lichens unique to this habitat, and we manage a third of this area.
“Rhododendron removal and deer management have been a priority for us for several years and this additional funding will go some way to helping us reinforce and carry forward our work at a landscape scale and more rapid pace.
“But achieving lasting success in controlling these issues for the betterment of Scotland’s rainforests requires a partnership approach of like-minded land managers.
“Being a key partner in the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforests (ASR) gives us the opportunity to collaborate on a co-ordinated approach and to also make a substantial contribution to a significant number of landscape-scale rainforest projects.”
Within the last decade, FLS has invested £13.5 Million in treating invasive rhododendron within approximately 11,000 hectares in the rainforest zone. Around 8,000 hectares of priority rainforest rhododendron areas are on land that FLS manages.
In addition to enabling significant new areas of priority mature Rhododendron ponticum to be cleared - this funding will enable us to focus on follow-up work to prevent Rhododendron from recolonising areas where it has already been removed.
Rhododendron is an aggressive coloniser so the future success of clearing new sites will rest on the same work being carried out by neighbouring land managers to prevent recolonisation.
The £1.3 million funding will also ensure that drone surveys of deer populations are carried out to support management planning and to identify pilot areas for deer control through a project managed by NatureScot. FLS has culled almost 60,000 deer in the rainforest area in the last five years.
“Undoubtedly, Rhododendron ponticum and over browsing from deer are the two priority issues that the ASR partners need to address.
“But as part of our effort, we will also be restoring Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) to return native woodlands and their associated flora back to health.
“We have already started planning and delivering PAWS restoration in around 2,200 hectares of core rainforest, and over a further 4,800 hectares of PAWS within the wider rainforest zone.”
As well as helping to achieve net zero by potentially sequestering an estimated 1MTCO2e/yr of carbon, rainforest restoration also helps meet the ambitions of the new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and provides opportunities for green skills and rural development.
Notes to editors
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.