Scottish Highlands to host ‘rewilding laboratory’

A 40 hectare stretch of land near Loch Ness will soon be home to a project testing rewilding techniques and measuring their impact on the environment and local community.

Tree-planting drones, satellite monitoring and soil-sampling rovers are among the technologies that engineering company AECOM hopes to trial at the site, now largely covered by commercially-managed forest. 

The company intends to work with the landowner to reintroduce native tree cover more akin to the ancient and largely vanished Caledonian forest, which once covered vast swathes of the Highlands. 

The project “is about restoring a stunning slice of the Scottish Highlands back to what it was”, said Robert Spencer, AECOM’s director of sustainability, in a statement. “But we also see this live laboratory as a way to demonstrate the value of conserving and enhancing ecosystems, including benefits to wellbeing, health and economic prosperity.”

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