Charity launches "most urgent appeal ever" to save trees from deer

Conservation charity Trees for Life has launched an "emergency" appeal for £20,000 to protect tens of thousands of young trees on an Inverness-shire reserve from grazing deer.

Image: Trees for Life
Image: Trees for Life

New trees, many planted by Trees for Life volunteers, have become established on West Affric over the past 20 years, within a series of 10 fenced exclosures intended to prevent browsing by deer. But several sections of fencing on the remote site have been broken by drifting snow, allowing deer in to damage the trees.

Trees for Life founder and executive director Alan Watson Featherstone said: "This is perhaps the most urgent appeal we have ever made. We need to protect the results of two decades of positive conservation action to restore the Caledonian Forest in this area.

"Repairing the fences will ensure that the young trees and the species they support are safe and can continue to flourish, bringing greater life and diversity back to this depleted landscape."

The National Trust for Scotland bought the 4,000-hectare West Affric estate, which contains remnants of the once vast Caledonian Forest, in 1993 and is working with Trees for Life and other partners to protect and enhance its ecological value.

Trees for Life volunteers have already planted over a million trees across the Highlands and the charity aims to reach its second million by 2018.

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