Trees for Life

Dundreggan Conservation Estate – Caledonian Forest restoration

Trees for Life is an award winning charity working to restore the native Caledonian Forest to its former range in the Highlands of Scotland. Since 1989, it has planted over 1.3 million trees and has facilitated the natural regeneration of ancient forest remnants in Glen Affric and at other sites to the west of Inverness and Loch Ness. The charity also advocates the reintroduction of the missing species of wildlife that formerly lived in the forest, as they are essential for the reestablishment of a balanced, self-sustaining ecosystem.

In 2008 Trees for Life purchased the 4,000 hectare Dundreggan Estate in Glenmoriston, which is notable for its wide range of woodland and other habitats. It contains an outstanding area of large junipers, what is possibly the most extensive population of dwarf birch in Scotland and significant populations of important species such as black grouse and wood ants. Restore Our Planet contributed some funding towards the purchase and the development of the first 5 year management plan for the estate.

Dundreggan Conservation Estate is now Trees for Life’s flagship restoration project, with over 335,000 native trees planted there since its purchase. The site also includes a native tree nursery growing 60,000 trees annually, focusing on scarcer species such as aspen and montane willows. Ongoing biodiversity surveys have led to the discovery of 16 species (mostly invertebrates) at Dundreggan that are not known anywhere else in the UK, thereby emphasising the significance of the estate for biological diversity.

Rainbow over the Dundreggan Estate.
Photo: © Alan Watson/Forest Light