Creating a wild landscape in Scotland to reconnect people and nature
Trees for Life aims to regenerate the ecological richness, diversity and productivity of the Scottish highlands in a way that provides opportunities for people living there to achieve spiritual, and economic development. Its goals are to reverse historical biodiversity loss, reduce local social inequality, and enhance people’s wellbeing.
Since 1989 Trees for Life has planted over one million native trees and has protected numerous areas from grazing by building fences. In 2008 Trees for Life was able to purchase a 4000 ha private estate, which was previously managed for hunting. They plan to plant native trees to reconnect fragmented surrounding forests, and their vision is by 2058 create a wild landscape of diverse natural forest cover, and that includes the return of locally extinct large predators, such as eagles, and ecosystem engineers, such as beavers.
Trees for Life is a rewilding project that aims to restore the wildness to ecosystems and the human spirit. Doing this requires it to work to change how people view what is natural and possible in Scottish nature and it has done this by building a broad effective coalition to achieve a long term task. The project works extensively with volunteers to combine landscape transformation with education.
Trees for Life provides an example of a successful project that has long term goals that it has slowly built towards. It has worked to build a broad network of citizen, business and government support with the goal of creating a new wilderness in Scotland. This project can serve as an inspiration and model for rewilding projects elsewhere in the UK and around the world.