As ecological consultants we often talk about how our work can restore nature, enhance biodiversity and tackle climate emissions.
But this article from scotsman.com illustrates how planting the right trees in the right places can also help fight back against the effects of climate change being felt right now. How creating new forests might stop entire communities being left stranded.
Tens of millions of pounds have been invested into schemes to try and prevent the Rest and Be Thankful stretch of the A83, for example, being left to the mercy of landslips and rockfalls but so far without any lasting success.
While places such as Norway invest in tunnels, Scotland’s answer so far seems to have been fences and catch-pits to protect a significant road artery where the danger has become so bad it requires daily patrols and vehicle escorts to ensure tragedy does not ensue.
Road signs and engineers scratching their heads on the verges perhaps underplays the vast amounts of time and effort that has been spent on the issues. But the crisis persists.
Now nature is getting a chance with a strategy to plant trees to help shore up the soils and water-logged earth. Downy birch, aspen, oak, blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel, juniper and Scots pine are hoped to create a rooted system to steady the soils.
Work on erecting deer fencing ahead of planting, adjacent to engineering works while a longer-term solution is sought, is underway.
But given how decade or so may elapse for these to establish, nothing is guaranteed.
While this scheme may grab much of the attention, similar conversations are taking place with regards to other roads, train routes and in town and city centres prone to flooding as some parts of the UK endure the wettest May on record.
A realisation that trees and other ecological works may yet be able to help prevent what engineering alone cannot.
England, for example, have just revealed plans to treble tree-planting rates there for climate and nature but even then, they remain significantly behind Scotland.
Worth then reading this from the BBC who has produced a long read on ‘The reasons wild forests beat plantations’ and goes into some detail about the differences.
It also discusses how efforts in the Highlands to remove deer are having an impact.
Mairi Gougeon MSP, has replaced Marmite minister Fergus Ewing as rural economy secretary, her predecessor being removed from the post.
Whether or not she will take a different approach to the brief remains to be seen.
It’s such an incredible honour to be appointed Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & Islands & to be part of this amazing team. I follow the inimitable @FergusEwingSNP and know first hand how hard he worked on behalf of Scotland’s farmers and fishers. pic.twitter.com/frpd6owEFV
— Mairi Gougeon (@MairiGougeon) May 19, 2021
But coming as the Scottish Government also expanded the portfolio of Transport Minister Michael Matheseon MSP.
It has also made him its climate lead to support environmental progress and deliver COP26 this November, suggesting a change of direction could be on the horizon, which will be welcomed by many who feel Ewing’s approach to Scotland’s woodland strategy and land use was too much at odds with climate necessity.
This could be a key appointment in acting as a bridge between policymakers and experts on the ground.
And they won’t be short of work to do.
Our Managing Director Alex Foulkes shared a few thoughts on what he thinks the priorities should be including land reform, more national parks and green jobs.
Around the web
Net zero Scotland? Just four in ten small businesses have taken action to decarbonise.
Study shows Britain’s homes are at risk of subsidence because of climate change.
While others consider if Scottish rivers may hold the key to a low carbon future.
Transport again and Angel Trains have been announced as partners with Arcola Energy for the delivery of Scotland’s first hydrogen-powered train.
Edinburgh is to become home to a world leading Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre headed by award winning academic Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer.
Could ETS revenues fund low emission transition in New Zealand? The Guardian looks in more detail.
North Sea green energy could overtake oil and gas and create more jobs by 2020, says RGU.
Sovereign Wealth funds targeted by UK Government over green investment.
And take a moment to mark Peter Livingstone’s achievement of ten years of planting Aspen trees. Quite the feat.
Ones to watch
The Eden Project plans for Dundee take a huge leap forward.
Scots colliery in East Ayrshire to become a health and eco park.
Biden puts companies in notice he will legislate to drive down emissions.