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Scottish Highlands to be transformed by major rewilding project

A vast swath of the Scottish Highlands will be reinvented as part of a 30-year project to restore nature.

An area equivalent to 250,000 football fields will be renovated as part of an ambitious project to bring nature back to the Scottish Highlands.

Announced Thursday, the Affric Highlands The initiative will include tree planting, peatland restoration, connecting wildlife habitats and restoring river corridors of more than 500,000 acres.

The 30-year reconstruction project will cover Loch Ness, the Kintail Range, and the Cannich, Affric, Moriston and Shiel Glens.

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Affric Highlands will be one of the largest rebuilding projects in Europe. Has been added to Rebuilding Europegrowing network of large-scale nature restoration projects. Others include the Danube Delta in Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova, the Southern Carpathians in Romania, and Swedish Lapland.

The initiative is the result of three years of consultations between Rewilding Europe, the Trees for Life charity, local communities and landowners. Organizers hope it will provide an economic boost to the region. Work is scheduled to begin in 2023.

“Affric Highlands will take large-scale nature recovery to a new level, providing a catalyst for the local economy at the same time,” said Steve Micklewright, CEO of Trees for Life. “The Highlands have enormous potential to help nature return and therefore help people to prosper and make a major contribution to addressing the global climate and nature emergencies.”


Organizers hope Affric Highlands will boost nature tourism in the region. Image: Trees For Life

Trees for Life is ready to open the world’s first recreation center in Scotland in 2023. The charity is already working on a project to restore the ancient Caledonian forest, and has established nearly two million trees on his own 10,000 acre farm at Dundreggan in Glenmoriston.

“Affric Highlands is a bold, exciting and inspiring endeavor to reclaim nature as Scotland moves up the biodiversity ranks,” said Frans Schepers, Managing Director of Rewilding Europe.

“The inclusion of Affric Highlands in our portfolio of major European rebuilding areas will help magnify the impact of rebuilding in the Highlands and put it firmly on the world map.”

Rebuilding Europe’s Nine Great Hitters

1. Great Côa Valley, Portugal

2. Danube Delta in Ukraine, Romania and Moldova

3. Southern Carpathians, Romania

4. Velebit Mountains, Croatia

5. Central Apennines, Italy

6. Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

7. Oder Delta in Germany and Poland

8. Swedish Lapland

9. Affric Highlands, Scotland

Lead image: Grant Willoughby / Trees For Life

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