Donors are being sought to halt the loss of Scotland’s rare rainforests – with major schemes in Argyll and Morvern in need of funds.

The cash crisis was revealed as a new film was unveiled by the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest – a voluntary partnership of 21 organisations and public bodies* seeking to turn around the fortunes of the dwindling habitat.

Saving Scotland’s Rainforest Project Manager Julie Stoneman said:

“Only 30,000ha of Scotland’s rainforest remains. It is choked by rhododendron; unable to regenerate due to grazing pressure; crowded by conifer plantations; and exposed to ash dieback and nitrogen pollution. In short, we face the very real risk of losing this globally important habitat completely.”

Alistair Whyte of partner organisation Plantlife Scotland added:

“The Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest is a partnership of organisations with a shared vision to see this precious forest thrive once again. But we can’t do this alone. We need the support of funders and policymakers to save this valuable habitat that locks in carbon, provides local livelihoods and supports communities.

We can protect and restore Scotland’s rainforest if we work together, but we must act now.”

Scotland’s temperate rainforest is just as important and even more rare than better-known tropical rainforest. It is found on the west coast where cool summers, mild winters, wet conditions and clean air encourage the lush growth of mosses, liverworts, lichens, fungi and ferns. It is the variety and abundance of these plants that makes Scotland’s rainforest internationally important.

The Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest aims to:

  1. Establish landscape-scale projects to restore and expand rainforest sites.
  2. Identify how the Scottish Government could give greater priority to restoring Scotland’s rainforest.
  3. Encourage and enable landowners and managers to restore and expand the rainforest in core areas.
  4. Work together to share ideas, information, knowledge and expertise to continually improve our understanding of how to best manage the rainforest.

Its 21 partner organisations are experienced, committed and ready to act. Many are already working to conserve the rainforest. But projects that work at scale, across landscapes need financial support.

Here are two examples of projects that urgently need funding now:

1. Argyll’s Rainforest is a project led by the Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (ACT), a forward-thinking social enterprise with a long track record of galvanising communities to work in partnership for conservation and development action.

Argyll is home to more than half of the remaining rainforest habitat in Scotland.

ACT was invited to develop an application to the National Heritage Lottery Fund in March 2020. Due to the Covid-19 crisis however, the Fund was put on hold as it understandably turned its attention to schemes countering effects of the virus.

ACT is now looking for £350,000 to allow the first phase of this important work to take place. You can find more information here.

2. Led by RSPB Scotland, Saving Morvern’s Rainforest aims to enhance and restore important areas of rainforest on the Morvern peninsula.

The peninsula is an area of land of around 200 square km bounded by Loch Sunart, the Sound of Mull and Loch Linnhe. If rhododendron is cleared, it will be difficult for it to re-invade an area protected by the sea on three sides. The aim is to create eight local jobs, traineeships and contractor opportunities and promote the rainforest as a visitor destination.

It is hoped work can start in August 2021 and continue until June 2026, but with a funding gap of £500,000, grant awarding organisations, charitable trusts and/or private individuals are invited to get in touch. You can find more information here.

You can donate to the Argyll's Rainforest project here: Donate Now

Launched as the Atlantic Woodland Alliance in May 2019, the partnership has been renamed Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest and has a new website at where lots more information is available.

Saving Scotland’s Rainforest is a project led by the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest to protect and restore this globally important habitat. It is supported by Plantlife Scotland and Woodland Trust Scotland.

For more information on Argyll's Rainforest project contact Julie Young, [email protected].

*Alliance partners include Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust, British Bryological Society, British Lichen Society, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Community Woodlands Association, Forestry and Land Scotland, Future Woodlands Scotland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, National Trust for Scotland, NatureScot, Plantlife Scotland, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Forestry Society, RSPB Scotland, Scotland: The Big Picture, Scottish Forestry, Scottish Land and Estates, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Trees for Life and Woodland Trust Scotland.