Mission 12

We’re restoring Scotland's ancient forests


Scotland’s forests are known for their mystical beauty. Unfortunately, due to human activity, the majority of the forest have turned into monocultures. As a result, biodiversity has declined sharply. That’s why we’re in Scotland, helping to restore the ancient forests, using an unusual technique: killing trees. By winching and ring-barking certain trees, we’re starting to transform Scotland’s green deserts into the lively, biodiverse ecosystems they once were.

The Mission

The Scottish Highlands are famous for their beautiful forests and ancient landscapes, yet only a tiny remnant of these once-mystical woodlands still exists. Unfortunately, most of today's forests resemble monoculture plantations. The same tree species are planted over and over again, harvested only for timber. These monocultures provide no space or light for local biodiversity.

The Cairngorms Connect team has taken on the important and long-term goal of restructuring these woodlands. Through targeted tree felling and winching, they create not only space and light, but also deadwood. This provides a rich foundation and brings back a diversity of plant and animal life. Thanks to the financial support of the Planet Wild community, we've ensured the reforestation of 30 hectares of Abernethy’s forest, which is a remnant of the ancient Caledonian pine forest.

Mission Video


Total invested

Already achieved

30 ha of monoculture forest rewilded
Habitat for new plants and animals created

Ideal outcome

Return of ancient Caledonian forest structure
Increase in forest diversity and resilience
Growing capercaillie population

Our Partner

Fraser Cormack

Cairngorms Connect

Fraser Cormack has worked as a tree surgeon all over the world. He then returned to Scotland to work in a field he had always loved: nature conservation. He’s been living and working at the Nature Reserve for the past 10 years, starting off as an estate worker. Now, he works as the warden and acts as the 'forest doctor' for the reserve. Fraser manages most of the plantation restructuring and thinning operations. By creating deadwood and changing the forest structure, he and his team help the forest return to its natural state and increase biodiversity.


Cairngorms Connect
Mission publish date
February 15, 2024
A bison wearing sunglasses

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