Friday, October 2, 2009

Great Forest vision is unveiled

The forest will be created in the heart of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park

A project to recreate an ancient native woodland that covered central Scotland thousands of years ago has been officially launched.

The Great Trossachs Forest, described as one of the most significant regeneration projects in the UK, will link an area of patchwork woodland.

Tree planting across the site, which reaches from Loch Lomond to Callander, has already begun.

The new forest will cover 166 sq km and create 4400 hectares of woodland.

Those behind the scheme said it will become a showcase for wildlife in the area.

'Successful results'

The project will see the creation of more than 10,000 hectares of specific habitat types, including moorland, wetland and grassland in addition to the 4,400 hectares of new woodland.

More than 1,250 hectares of non-native pine will also be removed from the area.

The forest is being created by the Scottish Forest Alliance, a partnership between Forestry Commission Scotland, Woodland Trust Scotland, RSPB Scotland and BP.

Designed to span two centuries, the creation of the forest will encompass Loch Lomond, north of Inversnaid, and stretch to Loch Katrine over Glen Arklet in the heart of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Speaking ahead of the launch event, Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said the project would bring benefits to locals.

She said: "The Great Trossachs Forest is a remarkable achievement - a stunning resource that offers a host of opportunities and a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits.

"It is also a model for the future and one that I hope will be adopted elsewhere, hopefully with equally successful results."

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