Help us celebrate World Rainforest Day, 22 June 2023, by spreading the word about Scotland’s special rainforest. One of the biggest threats to this precious habitat is obscurity: if people don’t know we have a rainforest, they won’t know to protect it.

Scotland’s rainforest is a temperate rainforest, which means it’s mild and very wet all year, creating the right conditions for all sorts of damp-loving plants. Not just trees but ferns, mosses, lichens and liverworts thrive in our rainforests and attract lots of insects, birds and mammals.

Temperate rainforests are very rare and cover only about 1% of the planet. In Europe, you can find them on the Atlantic coastlines of Britain and Ireland, Norway, France and Spain – but the best rainforest habitat in Europe is found in Scotland.

Our temperate rainforests are the remnants of much larger ancient woodlands, but they can only form in certain areas, such as along the west coast of Scotland, Argyll in particular, where conditions are just right. In Argyll, woodlands such as at Glasdrum, Glen Nant and Taynish National Nature Reserves, Knapdale and Tarbet woods, and Ballachuan hazel woods are some of the finest examples of remnant temperate rainforest in all of Europe. 

 Ian Dow, ACT woodland coordinator comments: “A significant amount of Scotland’s rainforest remnants can be found in Argyll and Bute. Our rainforest habitat supports all manner of flora, fauna and fungi! From the ferns, lichens, mosses and liverworts nestling amongst oak, ash, birch, hazel and Scots pine trees. To the songbirds, birds of prey, butterflies and mammals such as red squirrels and pine martens, that all call our temperate rainforest, home.”

We work in partnership with the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest, a voluntary partnership of 25 organisations that are all committed to collaborative action for the benefit of the rainforest. Saving Scotland’s rainforest isn’t just about planting more trees. We need to look after the bits that we have left, protecting them from invasive plants, such as Rhododendron ponticum.

Philippa McKee, ACT woodland coordinator, is currently working with landowners in Knapdale, Argyll, to map the spread of rhododendron around the area. “We’ve surveyed over 900 hectares across three areas of Knapdale using drones," says Philippa. "This helps us to map out and gather accurate data on the coverage and distribution of rhododendron. The data gathered will inform our next phase, which is costing and planning for rhododendron control in the area.”


“There is no doubt that the scale of this task is considerable. It will require a long-term commitment to stand the best chance of succeeding in landscape-scale, sustainable clearance and, ultimately, the restoration of native woodland in the heart of Scotland’s rainforest zone.”

Our rhododendron project is funded by Nature Restoration Fund, a fund managed by NatureScot, and Scottish Forestry

Find out more


What can you do to help?

Donate to restoration projects, such as ours in Argyll, volunteer, talk to your MP or MSP about rainforests, or simply help us spread the word. Here are some ways to get involved.