Dedicate a tree to help revitalise Scottish woodlands

The National Trust for Scotland is appealing for support to help it replace thousands of trees lost on its properties after brutal storms Arwen and Corrie battered the country in late 2021 and early 2022.

The woodland at Crathes Castle lost giant specimens of tree. (NTS).
The woodland at Crathes Castle lost giant specimens of tree. (NTS).

The storms, which occurred in November 2021 and at the end of January 2022, devastated hundreds of acres of natural habitats - the equivalent of 20 Murrayfield Stadiums, and the conservation charity is asking for support to help replant these areas by dedicating a tree for as little as £7.50 per sapling.

The conservation charity’s properties in the North East, the Highlands and Argyll and Bute saw vast swathes of woodland destroyed by the sheer force of the storms.

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The launch of the fundraising appeal will help to replace trees that are vital in the fight against the climate crisis and provide important habitats to a host of wildlife.

With a tree’s natural ability to absorb up to 1 tonne of carbon emissions throughout its lifetime, it is crucial for the National Trust for Scotland to undertake replanting on a huge scale.

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As the new saplings are planted they will be shielded from herbivores using bio-degradable tree guards in keeping with the Trust’s conservation agenda.

The replanting will replace lost trees, strengthen woodlands and help tackle climate change as well as support the Trust’s objective to become carbon negative by 2031, as part of its 10-year strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone.

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The Tree Appeal will help to repopulate woodlands with native trees that provide habitat for rare species such as the red squirrel, capercaillie and wild cats and will allow the charity to continue its work to care for and protect Scotland’s natural assets.

A mix of native trees such as oak, rowan and pine will be planted, with each property having a tailored planting plan based on its original woodlands, taking predicted climate change considerations into account.

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This will ensure that the Trust plants for the future, building resilient woodlands and habitats that will benefit generations to come.

Chris Wardle, National Trust for Scotland’s Gardens and Designed Landscape Manager for the North East, said: “The devastation left by the storms at the start of the year and the sheer extent of the damage caused is unimaginable.

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“Our Aberdeenshire properties were badly affected with Castle Fraser and Crathes Castle losing hundreds of trees, and the Pittendreigh woodland at Leith Hall completely devastated.

"Other National Trust for Scotland places like Inverewe and Arduaine Gardens lost ancient specimens and had their vital shelterbelts destroyed so the Tree Appeal is vital for us to begin reinstating these natural wonders for the benefit of wildlife, local communities and the environment.

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“Take Craigievar in Aberdeenshire, for example.

"Here we’ll be planting over 37,000 Scots pines that will link smaller parcels of ancient woodland together.

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"Not only will this store over 37,000 tonnes of carbon, but the new trees will create woodland corridors for species such as the red squirrel to spread into, creating new habitats for this endangered animal to thrive.

"In turn, the squirrels will also help spread native tree seeds across a larger area of land, encouraging natural woodland regeneration in the area.”

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Chris continued: “Over the coming years, in addition to supporting natural regeneration we want to plant at least 475,000 trees across Scotland. It’ll cost £7.50 to plant each sapling and a donation today helps us plant another tree in one of the many woodlands we’re restoring.

"Dedicating a tree could make the perfect Christmas gift.

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"As a thank you, we’ll send you a personalised certificate to keep or send to a loved one if you’re dedicating a tree to them.

"Your support will help us restore our damaged forests and play a part in mitigating the climate crisis and the loss of Scotland’s natural ecosystems.

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Together, we can protect the places we love both now and for the future."

The Tree Appeal contributes to the National Trust for Scotland’s vision to deliver Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone.

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To make a donation and dedicate a tree for yourself or a loved one that will support the work of the National Trust for Scotland, please visit www.nts.org.uk/trees.