The re-wilding project, which commenced in 2012, aims to breathe new life into a virtually tree-free landscape; encourage biodiversity by responsible hands-on custodianship; re-establish a part of the island’s ancient natural heritage; and create a long-term legacy for future generations to enjoy.
On February 1st 2022, with the impetus provided by Tivoli funding, Fiona and Mike Coulthard collected 3,000 alder saplings with known provenance from Taynuilt Trees in Taynuilt Argyll, for planting on the Aird na Cille Rewilding Project. Over the following two weeks during very wild weather of hail, sleet and subsequently Storm Dudley, the trees were successfully planted across the croft creating new shelter belts for subsequent infill plantings of native woodland.
The alder trees establish quickly to provide shelter, and through their root nodules fix large quantities of nitrogen in the soil to encourage strong growth of all the other trees. Traditionally they are known as nursery trees, which is why so many have been planted in the early phase of a new area.
In addition, general maintenance of existing trees was carried out. Last year’s growth was substantial and enabled the team to take over 1,500 indigenous willow cuttings and plant them across the croft. Existing trees were dressed with natural rock Phosphates to supplement the mineral deficient peat soils.
The cuttings bed activity included the replanting of over 150 tiny hawthorn saplings following successful germination from seed collected in 2019 from berries on Harris. Salvaged fish boxes are used as raised beds to protect from the encroaching grasses and mosses whilst also providing drainage and wind shelter. Previous years’ holly cuttings have rooted, and the juniper beds are thriving.
Nicola Lovett, Chief Executive Officer, Tivoli Group Ltd said:
“We are thrilled that our support of this project has enabled the recent important tree planting activity. We are facing devastating impacts resulting from climate change and biodiversity loss, hence Tivoli is very proud to assist with the creation of new functioning ecosystems where biodiversity can thrive for decades to come.”
Click here to find out more about the Aird na Cille re-wilding project.