We are very excited to announce that ACT has recently been awarded £214K as part of the Scottish Government's Nature Restoration Fund. The funding will be used to improve woodland around Kilmory in Lochgilphead and at Glenan Woods in Cowal. Both locations are popular with communities and are prime woodland sites but are over-run with invasive Rhododendron ponticum which is crowding out native tree and lower plant species. The funding will support the control and management of Rhododendron at these sites. The funding will also support the appointment of ACT’s Ranger team and provide a polytunnel for ACT’s MAKI Pups outdoor nursery which will be a fantastic resource for the children to learn about seeds, planting and growing. 

ACT Development Manager, Julie Young said, "Rhododendron ponticum, lovely that its summer blossom maybe to some, is a significant non-native invasive plant in our remnant rainforests in Argyll.  Thanks to the Nature Restoration Fund, ACT is able to remove this barrier to rainforest restoration in two mid-Argyll strongholds.  As ACT has demonstrated elsewhere, this will allow woodland biodiversity to flourish and make it easier for us all to get in amongst the woods, learn about them, exercise more, and just feel better from being in such a wonderful green space."  

Forest Ranger Rhyddian Knight, speaking on behalf of Friends of Glenan Wood said, "I can't overemphasize how thankful we are to ACT for inviting our community rainforest at Glenan to be a site for this grant, the execution of this contract [Rhododendron removal] will allow us virtually to eradicate one of the three major threats to the woods."

Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Robin Currie, said, “The woodland at Kilmory Estate is an important natural asset to Argyll and Bute and it is vital that we do everything we can to conserve its natural resources. Over the last few months we have brought many parts of the estate back to life through a variety of climate friendly projects, including the creation of an award-winning outdoor learning centre and a biomass boiler which produces heat using local timber. The announcement of this funding from the Scottish Government's Nature Restoration Fund to clear invasive species will greatly benefit the biodiversity of the woodland and will complement new native planting around the estate that we have agreed in partnership with other organisations, such as ACT and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).”

The Nature Restoration Fund supports a range of urban, rural, marine and coastal focused projects to address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. The Nature Restoration Fund specifically encourages applicants with projects to increase the biodiversity and environmental value of land and sea, with a focus on habitats and species, and supporting green skills, training and jobs where possible. Through this approach, successful projects will contribute to the green recovery as we emerge from Covid-19 and work towards a nature rich future.

Our project 'Rewilding Argyll’s Rainforest' is one of 54 successful projects across Scotland to share the additional £5million committed in this round of the Nature Restoration Fund. The projects will take practical steps to improve natural habitats, safeguard plant and animal species and improve biodiversity.

The 2021 Nature Restoration Fund added to the many millions of pounds of Scottish Government funding delivered through the Biodiversity Challenge Fund, Scottish Rural Development Programme and other sources to support biodiversity and help to deliver Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy.

Biodiversity Minister, Lorna Slater, said, “Too much of Scotland’s natural environment is degraded after years of over-exploitation, but this Government is committed to restoring nature and our wildlife. The Nature Restoration Fund will play a big role in delivering these aspirations, and the projects we are funding today are just the beginning. The Fund kick starts a new approach, supporting longer-term, larger, landscape-scale projects across Scotland - on land and at sea - that address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. Over this parliament we will invest at least £65 million through the fund, delivering real change that people and nature will benefit from across the whole country.”

NatureScot Chief Executive, Francesca Osowska, said, “COP26 in Glasgow has driven home the urgency of the situation we are all facing. But there is hope. By restoring nature, protecting and enhancing habitats and safeguarding marine life we can look forward to a nature-positive future.

“Scotland is taking action now to meet the huge challenges and pressures that nature is facing and its projects like these that will make the difference and set us on the road to recovery.

“Climate change needs nature-based solutions, not only to help us reach net zero by 2045 but to create a healthier, more resilient Scotland.”