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Recognising the importance of our ancient grasslands

(c) Alistair Whyte

The past 12 months have seen Plantlife work alongside Highlands Rewilding to play a key role in a ground-breaking nature recovery initiative which aims to create a network of biodiverse land which works for nature and climate across Scotland.

We took part in a huge research exercise at flagship site Bunloit, gathering as much information as possible about how the site currently functions, the species and the habitats it supports and opportunities to improve and enhance biodiversity. This included bringing in some of the country’s best specialist ecologists during the summer and autumn to help develop a comprehensive baseline against which future improvements could be measured.

This research underlined the huge importance of the ancient grasslands at the site which, with sensitive restoration, could become some of the best in the area for the richness and diversity of species they support.

This is mirrored in Bunloit’s woodlands and ravines, which our surveys showed are packed full of lichen communities of international importance.

Making best use of our data

The data we gathered was included in Highlands Rewilding’s first ever ‘Natural Capital Report’, which was launched with our support at a well-attended fringe event at COP26 in Glasgow. In addition, we used the survey results and ecologists’ findings to draw up a series of management recommendations designed to maximise plant diversity at Bunloit.

The project has now been rolled out to a further site, where we are continuing to work with Highlands Rewilding to improve our understanding of the opportunities for restoration and habitat preservation to help create a nature-rich wildlife and climate-friendly future.

Image credits: Header image - Alistair Whyte

Next project

Building resilience in the South West’s woodlands

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