On the 22nd June we are celebrating National Rainforest Day in order to raise awareness about the importance of these precious ecosystems, and the urgent need to collectively protect and safeguard them.
In celebration of National Rainforest Day, we wanted to highlight one of Regatta’s partners within the Conservation Collective: The Highlands & Islands Environment Foundation (HIEF). HIEF’s goal is to protect & restore the natural beauty, biodiversity & eco-systems of the Scottish highlands & islands by working in partnership with local communities to implement sustainable & regenerative projects.
Did you know that there was a rainforest in Scotland?
Not many people do! And that’s one of the largest issues. HIEF awarded a grant to The Alliance for Saving Scotland’s Rainforest (ASR) in order to raise the profile of the rainforest with key audiences. Whilst the main focus of the ASR strategy is establishing landscape-scale projects, influencing public policy, enabling land managers and improving general understanding of how to best manage the rainforest, the lack of awareness was a real stumbling block.
What is Scotland’s rainforest?
Scotland’s rainforest is an exceptional and unique habitat consisting of largely isolated pockets of native woodlands found on Scotland’s west coast where high levels of rainfall and relatively mild, year-round temperatures provide ideal conditions for some of the world’s rarest mosses, liverworts and lichens. The sheer abundance, diversity and rarity of the species found in Scotland’s rainforest make this unique habitat internationally important. In fact, it’s one of the best remaining sites in all of Europe.
Despite this, only around 30,000 hectares are left (an area slightly bigger than Edinburgh) Whilst there is approximately 93,000 hectares of semi-natural woodland in Scotland’s rainforest zone, less than one third contains rainforest biodiversity.
Why save Scotland’s rainforest?
Scotland’s rainforest can help to battle the ever-growing climate and biodiversity crisis. The ecosystem is a “nature-based solution” as it locks up carbon permanently and prevents flooding and soil erosion, while providing a vital home for a globally significant collection of species, some of which occur nowhere else.
It’s also a hugely important place for the people that live and work on the west coast of Scotland. Providing jobs, a space for exercise and wellbeing, a classroom for children, a meeting space for volunteers and a destination for tourists.
Regatta are proud to be supporting HIEF with funding and kit to help raise awareness of the Scottish Rainforest and allow people to enjoy it’s magic for generations to come.