We've begun to explore and record the plant and animal life living in the Loch Arkaig Pine Forest. But we don’t yet know exactly what lies at the heart of this ancient landscape.
The most remote area of the forest has lain untouched for decades, perhaps longer and we suspect it is home to some of Scotland’s most elusive wildlife. Because we want to keep it that way, we will not be enabling vehicle access to all of the forest. It will be a permanent refuge for wildlife.
Hidden at the heart
Due to its size and remote location, Loch Arkaig Pine Forest is home to many rare and important bird species. This includes the pair of ospreys pictured above (captured in July 2016), breeding sea eagles and golden eagles.
Undoubtedly there is more wildlife to discover. Wildlife cameras have already recorded the presence of pine martens, badgers and wild boar in the forest. We’ve found chewed cones too, which we think is evidence of an isolated red squirrel population. An exciting find - it’s quite unusual to find red squirrels this far west. Once we have been able to accurately survey the whole site we hope to find evidence of otters, black grouse and potentially Scottish wildcats too.
The standing deadwood is home to a wide variety of fungi, lichens, mosses and invertebrates. We’ll be blogging about any interesting finds – so revisit these pages regularly to find out more.
Caledonian pinewoods are the UK’s only native coniferous forest, part of the vast boreal forests that encircle the northern hemisphere. Ancient, wide-crowned ‘granny’ pines are an iconic feature of the Scottish landscape.
But with just 84 native pinewood fragments left in Scotland, many of which are shrinking from age and overgrazing, they are an endangered habitat. Native pinewood conservation is hugely important for Scotland’s biodiversity.
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