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Cairngorms Connect – large-scale restoration in Scotland

February 15, 2021
News item image The Cairngorms are a mountain range in the eastern Highlands of Scotland, UK

This is an ambitious project with a 200-year vision to manage 600 square kilometres of the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland for biodiversity whilst providing other benefits such as carbon storage and livelihoods for local people. It is the largest habitat restoration project in the UK, with an unparalleled time frame including goals for 2065 and 2216.

The project is a partnership of neighbouring land managers, with guidance from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. Management involves a diverse suite of actions across the landscape including restoration of watercourses and floodplains by removing drainage modifications and promoting natural processes, enhancing and expanding native woodlands by managing grazers, removing non-native species, and enrichment planting. Pine plantations will also be managed to become better habitats for wildlife by thinning and species diversification. A major source of carbon drawdown will come from restoration of bog woodlands by creating bog pools, and restoring blanket peat bogs by re-profiling peat bog channels and using boulders to slow water flow. Importantly, the project will involve comprehensive monitoring of ecological outcomes and quantification of benefits for humans, helping to enable management to be designed to enhance resilience and provide long-term benefits in terms of carbon storage, livelihoods and education.

This project is an inspiring example of implementing nature-based solutions at the landscape scale and with long-term planning. This will help enable benefits for nature and people to be maintained and enhanced into the future, will improve the resilience of habitats, species and ecosystem services to climate change, and will enable interactions between habitats to be nurtured.

Explore the Cairngorms Connect website, and watch the video.