Tree planting under way at Rest and Be Thankful
Forestry and Land Scotland has begun a tree planting project on the hillside above the Rest and Be Thankful, aiming to help efforts to improve the resilience of the well-known route in Argyll.
The ambitious Rest and Be Thankful Woodland Creation Project, located on the steep and notoriously unstable south western flanks of Ben Luibhean, Glen Croe, has been designed to provide long-term protection to the A83 by helping to prevent landslips.
The initial stages of planting are taking place on land managed by Transport Scotland, which is also funding the work.
Welcoming the start of the project, Minister for Transport, Jenny Gilruth, said;
“With the climate emergency likely to increasingly impact on Scotland’s landscape in the years ahead, protecting our infrastructure is a top priority.
“Using nature-based solutions like woodland creation is a win-win solution. It will help protect this important trunk road that is a vital lifeline for many people, will help capture more carbon and help increase the habitat in which wildlife can flourish.”
Forestry and Land Scotland has been working in partnership with Transport Scotland for several years to develop the plan, which will complement a range of hard engineering works that have already been put in place in response to previous incidents.
FLS teams are planting a mix of native woodland species at the western end of the hillside and will, over the course of the next two years, work their way steadily eastwards.
The species being planted – locally sourced so as to already be adapted to the local environment – include downy birch, aspen, oak, blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel, juniper and Scot pine. These species are also most likely to be resilient to future climate changes.
As soon as they are in the ground their root systems will begin to grow and develop, binding the hillside over time and reducing the likelihood of landslips. The woodland will also improve the landscape, encourage an increase in biodiversity and improve water quality and riparian habitats, especially those associated with spawning salmonids.
Planting the whole site is expected to take up to five years and natural regeneration of native species will also be encouraged.
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.