To regenerate these woods, we need to reduce the browsing pressure through herbivore exclusion – usually with fencing. However, this is often financially prohibitive, and whilst some government support exists such as the Scottish Forestry Grant Scheme, it often only covers around half of the cost of fencing due to rising costs. Future Woodlands Scotland offer a fencing supplement to applicants as part of their Future Woodlands Fund and this helps alleviate the initial capital outlay.
A fresh incentive to regenerate Lost Woods
Thanks to work done over the last two years in conjunction with the Woodland Carbon Code (WCC), the UK's voluntary carbon standard, there is a new way to leverage investment finance to help restore and regenerate declining ancient woodlands.
Previously, only woodland creation projects were eligible for the WCC. But now, remnant sites that have less than 20 percent woodland cover remaining, along with evidence of browsed regeneration, are eligible for carbon credits in the same way as woodland creation projects.
This change provides land managers with a more financially viable route to unlock income streams from restoring and protecting Lost Woods whilst saving the remnants of our ecological inheritance from further decline.
This means that restoration of Lost Woods could replace income from commercial sport stalking activities over the same land. This would necessarily involve a transition of the traditional stalker and gamekeeper roles, but the skill sets they have are not only transferable, but essential, in managing landscapes for regeneration of nature.
Zulu Forest Sciences: Using technology to accelerate their revival
At Zulu Ecosystems, we’re committed to take action to resolve the plight of Lost Woods. Combining the latest science, econometric models and land data, with in-house land management and Lost Woods expertise, we support landowners to evaluate, finance and deliver Lost Woods regeneration projects at the landscape or estate level.
Zulu Ecosystems' approach to regenerating Lost Woods is low-input and a low-risk way of achieving maximum gains for climate and nature. Key benefits include:
- Reduced implementation costs: the trees are already established and will thrive once grazing pressure is reduced
- Projects can be validated as soon as fencing is complete, so carbon revenues can be recognised earlier than with woodland creation schemes.
- Strong natural capital outcomes and premium biodiversity benefits - that are even more attractive to corporate investors.
To discover if your landholding has the potential for ancient woodland restoration or for more information, please contact Fiona Chalmers: email@example.com
To read the original paper published in Reforesting Scotland Journal, click here.
_(1) In Scotland, Ancient Woodlands are sites that have been continually wooded since 1750 (1600 in England and Wales)
(2) The Native Woodland Survey of Scotland (NWSS), Forestry Commission Scotland, 2014_
Photo credits: ©️ Fiona Chalmers