Arkaig Community Forest SCIO

Arkaig Community Forest is a charitable community organisation set up to acquire a biologically and culturally rich native pinewood site in north Lochaber. These two remote forest blocks, covering some 1086 hectares on the south shore of Loch Arkaig, are being sold by Forestry Commission Scotland as 'surplus', and Arkaig Community Forest has been approved by FCS as eligible to purchase them at an open market valuation set by the District Valuer

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Our Ethos

The woods contain significant ancient native pinewood remnants, and are part of the iconic Loch Arkaig Pinewoods - a Caledonian Pinewood Inventory site of great biodiversity importance. We aim to restore and expand the native woodland habitats, and to improve the ecological, economic and social value of the woods, bringing multiple gains to the area, preserving and enhancing these woodlands for public benefit and reconnecting people with the land.


Native Woodland Restoration

The proposal is to restore and expand the woodland area such that native woodland types appropriate to the site are encouraged, with integrated open ground habitats, also restored where necessary.This will involve harvesting and possible extraction of non-native conifers, motor manual fell-to-recycle operations where extraction is not viable, and manual removal of non-native regeneration.

Natural regeneration of native species will be facilitated through careful management of herbivore impacts, perhaps including controlled grazing of cattle as successfully carried out by FCS elsewhere on Loch Arkaig and in Glen Garry. Propagation of trees using locally collected seed and other material will be a priority, possibly generating a small scale local tree nursery enterprise/project.

These trees will then be used for enrichment planting when and where necessary, as well as new planting for woodland creation in open areas. Bog habitats will be restored, including blocking drains where necessary, and an essential backdrop to all the above will be regular inspection, repair and maintenance of fences.

Community Benefits
A number of rural development forestry activities are proposed, which could also provide multiple community benefits.

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Woodlots
Woodlot Licences are a new model of forest tenure being promoted by the Scottish Woodlot Association. In return for payment of an annual rental, the licensee has the right to harvest timber according to an Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) agreed in advance with landowner, with whom they also agree a management plan. The licensee is responsible for the management of the forest, including restocking the areas harvested. The arrangement allows individuals and their families to access woodland to manage
productively, and to use and add value to the timber harvested, supporting their lifestyles and livelihoods. Management is of high quality, on account of the personal input of the licence holder and the intimate knowledge of the forest they acquire over the years. The approach is well suited to areas which are particularly sensitive and/or are difficult to manage through conventional methods (eg due to access constraints). Such a situation well describes the Glenmallie block and it is therefore proposed that a number of woodlots could be established here. These will play their part in delivering sensitive restoration
management of the native pinewood, provide opportunities for local people to develop woodland-based businesses, and provide an income to the project through annual rents.

Woodfuel and Firewood
In communities such as those of Achnacarry, Bunarkaig & Clunes, surrounded as they are by extensive tracts of woodland, firewood should be the fuel of choice for all residents, and the community should be comfortably self-sufficient in fuel. However the reality is that residents often find it hard to source an adequate supply of firewood, and we hope that local ownership and control of the woodlands will help to change this and to help us to replace oil and coal with a renewable source of heat.

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New partnership with Woodland Trust Scotland...

Donate

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We have a lot of fundraising to do over the next few months! To buy our local forest under the National Forest Land Scheme, we need to be able to raise as much match-funding as possible to support our Scottish Land Fund application. Without this match-funding, our goal won't be achieved. We appreciate any amount so if you would like to help us achieve our goal, please donate today. We are currently setting up our donation pages but in the meantime you can contact us on info@arkaigforest.org. Thank you for your support.


Join Us

Want to get your hands dirty and get involved in restoring Scotland's native woodlands? Find out more about our membership schemes.


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Arkaig Community Forest, Charity No:SC045209, www.arkaigforest.org, info@arkaigforest.org