The Atlantic Woodland Alliance is a voluntary partnership of charities, agencies, community organisations, academics and business interests who share an interest in saving Scotland’s rainforest. Scotland’s temperate rainforest, also known as Atlantic woodland or the Celtic rainforest is found along the west coast and on the inner isles. It is a diverse habitat of ancient native oak, birch, ash, pine and hazel woodlands; open glades, boulders, crags, ravines and river gorges. The rainforest is dappled by sunlight, dripping with moisture and garlanded with a spectacular diversity of lichens and other fungi, mosses, liverworts, and ferns. Many are nationally and globally rare and some are found nowhere else in the world.
There is as little as 30,235 hectares of these woodlands left, which is less than a fifth of the area of rainforest that we could have in Scotland. And the woodlands that do remain are small, fragmented, failing to thrive and often threatened by over grazing, invasive species and poor management. Now the rainforest faces even greater challenges from climate change; diseases like ash dieback; and the uncertainty over how rural areas and woodlands in particular will be supported in the future.
Between the Alliance members, some of us own or manage more than 40% of the most important rainforest sites in Scotland. We are committed to saving the rainforest that we manage and working with others to help than do so as well.
The Alliance has published an important report on the State of Scotland’s rainforest and we have developed a strategy to save it. The strategy identifies four approaches to deliver a thriving Scottish rainforest.
The first is to implement at least two new large-scale, long term landscape projects working with local stakeholders to show how our rainforest can be better managed to tackle all of the threats and make the most of all the opportunities in each area.
In order to support these new projects we also need to work across the west coast to build the capacity, knowledge and skills that we all need to better manage our rainforest; to raise awareness and change attitudes to the rainforest in order to make sure it gets the support and consideration it needs; and finally to gather the evidence needed to tailor policies and programmes to make sure they better support the rainforest in the future.
Implementing this strategy will help deliver Scotland’s national and international commitments on conservation and forestry, but could also improve public health, encourage responsible land management and contribute to other national outcomes such as education. Saving Scotland rainforest will also deliver new social, cultural and economic opportunities and other direct benefits to communities and businesses. Individually, and in collaboration, we will take this exciting and innovative work forward but we are also looking for new partners to help us.
Members of the Alliance includes the Woodland Trust Scotland, the Community Woodlands Association, John Muir Trust, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority, Forestry and Land Scotland, Future Woodlands Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, SLE, RSPB Scotland, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, SNH, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Trees for Life.
We hope that the strategy will help you think about what role you can take in delivering our shared vision and join us in Saving Scotland’s Rainforest.