The Caledonian Forest is the western-most outlier of the boreal forest in Europe, and formerly covered about 1.5 million hectares in the Highlands of Scotland. By the 1980s it had been reduced to a little over 1% of its maximum extent, and consisted of scattered remnants geographically isolated from each other and comprised solely of old trees. Gone with the trees were most of the forest’s wildlife, leaving the land barren and bleak. There was a real risk the forest would have disappeared entirely, before ecological restoration work began in the final decades of the 20thcentury.
This presentation begins with an introduction to the Caledonian Forest and its key species, together with a brief summary of the causes of its decline and subsequent inability to regenerate naturally.
It details the simple practical steps that have enabled a new generation of young trees to grow again – the first to do so in 200 years. It illustrates how the recovery of the native vegetation facilitates the return of insects, birds, mammals, plants and fungi, in a positive trophic cascade that is part of Nature’s reweaving of the web of life.
The presentation identifies the 4 key elements of rewilding, and details 13 principles that can be used to guide ecological restoration projects – these can be applied not just to the Caledonian Forest, but for any ecosystem that has been damaged. It also covers the importance of people to restoration efforts and highlights the transformative experiences that many participants have when they help to heal degraded and depleted landscapes.
If you would like me to give this talk to a group or at an event, please contact me.