The Naturesave Trust Tree Planting Progam
The Naturesave Trust has been funding tree planting since 2009. This began with a policy of planting a tree for every Naturesave home insurance customer who stayed with us for 10 years or more. In April 2019, the Trust decided to increase this contribution, by funding the planting of a tree for each and every new insurance policy issued by Naturesave Insurance.
The trees are planted in the Scottish Highlands by conservation charity Trees for Life, as part of a long-running project to restore the Caledonian Forest. There are now around 1,500 native trees planted in ‘The Naturesave Grove’, which include Alder, Ash, Birch, Oak, Rowan and Scots Pine. As this rich habitat is restored it will support wildlife such as red squirrel, black grouse, capercaillie, pine marten and golden eagles.
This program is funded by The Naturesave Trust, which, in turn, is receives 100% of its funding from Naturesave Insurance.
The Naturesave Trust has a long-standing relationship with Trees For Life, who were established in the Scottish Highlands in 1989 and have planted more than a million trees with vital help from volunteers and corporate supporters. The charity is working to ensure the Caledonian Forest grows from the last patches of the original wild forest that remain so it can grow again in large areas of Scotland. The charity is also seeking to ensure the wild forest can grow at a scale that enables rewilding to happen so nature can look after itself, especially around Glen Affric and Glenmoriston where it has worked for many years
The Naturesave Grove has been planted at Dundreggan, near Loch Ness, in beautiful Glen Moriston. This 10,000 acre expanse of wild land contains remnants of the original Caledonian Forest, rare birch-juniper woodlands, and one of the largest areas of dwarf birch in Scotland. Over 2,800 species have been discovered at Dundreggan, with some found nowhere else in the UK. Most of the remaining land is open habitat and ideally suited for forest restoration.
By 2058, Trees for Life envisage that Dundreggan will be a very different place, with diverse natural forest covering over about 60% of the estate. There will be a greater variety of species, with more oak, hazel, ash, wych elm, bird cherry, birch, holly and Scots pine, and a greater diversity of wildlife.
See the latest tree planting progress at The Naturesave Grove
The Caledonian Forest originally covered much of the Highlands of Scotland, and takes its name from the Romans, who called Scotland ‘Caledonia’, meaning ‘wooded heights’. However, there has been a long history of deforestation in Scotland, and clearance of the land began in Neolithic times. Over the centuries, the forest shrank as the human population grew, and some parts were deliberately burned to eradicate ‘vermin’ such as the wolf. More recently, large areas were felled to satisfy the needs of industry, particularly after the timber supply in England had been exhausted. The widespread introduction of sheep and a large increase in the numbers of red deer ensured that once the forest was cleared, it did not return.
Today less than 1% of the original forests survive, and the native pinewoods have been reduced to 35 isolated remnants (shown in white on the map to the left). Gone with the trees are all the large mammals, with the exception of the deer. Species such as the brown bear and the wild boar had become extinct by the 10th and 17th centuries respectively, while the last to disappear was the wolf, when the final individual was shot in 1743. The shaded part of the map also shows the target area of about 1,000 square miles where Trees for Life are working to restore the native forest.
Trees for Life Action Plan
Trees for Life has a threefold strategy for the return of the forest:
- To facilitate the natural regeneration of the trees, by fencing the deer out of areas on the periphery of the existing remnants, so that seedlings can grow naturally to maturity again.
- To plant native trees in the barren areas where the forest has disappeared completely, by collecting seed from the nearest surviving trees, to maintain the local genetic variation in the forest. The resulting seedlings are planted in a random, non-linear pattern inside fenced enclosures. Particular attention is paid to the pioneer species such as birch, rowan and aspen.
- Removing non-native trees which have been planted in some areas as commercial crops amongst the old trees of the Caledonia Forest remnants.
Once the new trees reach seed-bearing age, they will form the nuclei for an expanded natural regeneration in the surrounding area.
For more information about our tree planting partner please visit Trees for Life.
* all images and photographs provided courtesy of Trees for Life