Conservation is but a word; a word that barely encompasses the breadth of work necessary to restore these lands to their former splendour or the scale of our commitment to a more sustainable future.
Our big open spaces are disappearing at an alarming rate. The natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands has long been at risk. At Wildland, we believe in giving nature a chance to fight back.
When you realise the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future.
Giving nature a helping hand
Anders and Anne Holch Povlsen established Wildland Limited as a vehicle for taking forward the conservation, protection and development of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable, precious and mysteriously beautiful landscapes. We believe in nature’s own capacity to restore itself. We accept that this can demand time-scales more likely to be enjoyed by our children than in our own lifetimes – we also know that we can remove pressures on the land and create the conditions necessary to allow natural processes to gain a foothold.
Yet this landscape scale restoration project demands what we refer to as a ‘heritage timeline’. These processes will take years. But that’s ok, we’re here for the long term.
What was can once more be…
Words such as conservation, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration are all too often used in ways that are confusingly interchangeable; yet there are distinctions to be made. Wildland’s philosophy is very simple: we wish for our parts of the Scottish Highlands to achieve their potential over the course of an entirely natural timescale. We accept the simple reality that this landscape scale restoration can only really happen in what we refer to as a ‘heritage timescale’; these natural processes take years and we are here for the long term.
…and let’s be clear, for Wildland this means the whole fabric of these hauntingly beautiful landscapes, including the built landscape and the historical assets that we are now responsible for.
The Wildland estates; history, heritage & tradition
Alongside our commitment to the protection of the land and traditional ways of life that define this rich heritage, the scale of the Wildland project continues to grow and we increasingly find ourselves the guardian of places that are of significance to Scotland’s social history and heritage.
Old Growth Forests
Less than 1% of Europe’s old growth forest remain
Whilst parts of the Scottish Highland’s woodland are largely commercial pine forests, these are mostly modern monoculture plantations. They are tree farms and no more natural than a field of barley planted in neat ploughed rows. The sub-montane (scrub zone) is a layer of trees that should exist at above 550 metres, yet across Scotland this layer is entirely missing. We are taking steps to bring it back.
Just two hundred years ago, large parts of the Highlands were still covered by the last remnants of the great Scottish Caledonian Pine forests – woodlands of not just pine, but also alder, birch and juniper – a whole ecosystem of plants and wildlife that thrived in its shade. Our goal today, is to protect those few pockets of old growth forest that still exist and create the conditions necessary for these trees to reassert themselves across the whole of the landscape. …it’s already happening.
Working hand in hand to make it happen
A project as ambitious and as significant as Wildland is more than any one person could ever deliver. Above all, it’s an evolving matrix of overlapping initiatives guided by science, new thinking and partnerships with a broad mix of organisations and experts in their field.
There is though another level of partnership too. Every single individual that visits Wildland holdings, who spends a day fishing in our silver glens, enjoying the beauty of our shimmering purple hillsides, a night in one of our lodges, is enjoying the opportunity to participate in our work and help us to realise the many and varied projects we have committed to.