Guest blog by Chris Goodman, Path Project Officer for the John Muir Trust, from 6th June 2017. After four years of preparation I can’t believe the path work on Suilven…
The project area’s existing native woodland extends to approximately 4,000 hectares – roughly 6.5% of the total land area. Much of this comprises of small, scattered fragments found along the area’s coastal fringes. Due to their small size most native woodlands are not designated, but offer considerable potential for protection and expansion to improve their connectivity and resilience.
Scattered along the lower edges of the coast, lochs and lochans, up gullies and in places sheltered from the sometimes dramatic elements the area experiences, lie some beautiful, species rich woodlands, but many are in need of protection and enhancement if they are to both survive and thrive into the future.
The aims of this project are to:
- Protect the existing native woodland fragments in the area;
- Facilitate expansion through encouraging native regeneration and where appropriate the planting of native species, with suitable protection of the form of fencing, and;
- Promote the connection of woodland fragments thereby providing habitat corridors for woodland and associated species.
As well as delivering environmental benefits the project will also aim to look at the practical benefits that woodland can provide:
- Shelter – from the elements for people, wildlife and stock.
- Fuelwood – a local sustainable and environmentally friendly option.
- Orchards – support for establishing community orchards.
- Wildlife – shelter, food and habitat network linkage.