Funding for Scotland’s first landscape scale clearance of invasive rhododendron has been awarded in Argyll.
Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (ACT) has been awarded Heritage Lottery Funding to support the clearance of Rhododendron ponticum across Glen Creran in North Argyll. Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland have also contributed funds to enable ACT to work alongside the Glen Creran community to undertake this landmark project.
Yesterday Ross Lilley of ACT met with members of the Glen Creran community to formally launch the project.
“Getting to the roots of Rhododendron ponticum” is a three-year project involving rhododendron ponticum clearance, training and provision of equipment to the local community to enable them to take ownership of the issue in Glen Creran. The project will also introduce the wider community and local school children to the delights of Glen Creran Special Areas of Conservation through a programme of education and guided walks.
The project builds upon previous work undertaken by Forestry Commission Scotland and upon the 2017 Forestry Commission publication “An approach to prioritising control of rhododendron in Scotland”.
The total value of the project is £96K with contributions from HLF of £50K, £36K SNH and £10K FCS.
Ross Lilley, Vice Chairman of ACT, said;
“HLF, SNH and FCS’s support for this project enables us to demonstrate co-ordinated rhododendron ponticum control across an entire catchment. We are grateful to the Glen Creran community for their commitment to the project.
Our Atlantic oakwoods are one of the few habitats in Scotland that are of outstanding global importance. Glen Creran Woods Site of Special Interest, Special Area of Conservation and National Nature Reserve has an exceptionally rich oceanic lichen assemblage, including 4 globally vulnerable species and 19 globally near-threatened species. It is the first of the top five priority sites in Scotland identified for complete removal of rhododendron. There are other catchments in Argyll with similar attributes and hopefully lessons learned from this project will help to inform rhododendron ponticum control in these other areas”.
Lucy Casot, Head of HLF Scotland, said: “Our natural heritage is a most precious resource and, thanks to National Lottery players, HLF grants have helped to protect an amazing range of landscapes, habitats, and species of plants and animals. HLF is delighted to support Getting to the roots of Glen Creran's Invasive Rhododendron Problem that will stimulate people’s interest in the natural world and so help them conserve it for future generations.”