All about Scotland's rainforest and why it is so valuable.
When you hear the term ‘rainforest’ you most likely picture a luscious tropical greenland full of exotic creatures and insects along the Amazon river. The rugged Scottish wilderness is not normally the first landscape that comes to mind. However, did you know that we have our very own rainforest? Well, if you didn’t, or, if you simply want to learn more about the wonderful habitat, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s find out more!
Where to find the Scottish rainforest?
Scotland’s rainforest (also known as Atlantic woodland or the Celtic rainforest) is located along the west coast of Scotland and inner isles. The bio-diverse woodland covers almost 75,000 acres of land.
What’s in our Scottish rainforest?
The ancient rainforest spans across woodlands, glades, winding rivers and gullies. So, as you can imagine it offers a vibrant habitat for many species of wildlife and botanics.
Fungi, bryophytes, mosses and lichens thrive in the Scottish rainforest’s high moisture levels. So much so, that you can find some of the rarest species in the world growing here.
Native birds, insects and woodland animals are commonly found making their home in the Scottish rainforest. However, you can also find some more unusual species. In recent times, two species of gnats were discovered to be living in Lochaber and Argyll woods that have never been recorded in the UK. The species in question are the Boletina gusakovae which is often found in Russia and Finland. As well as the Mycetophila idonea which is most commonly found in Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, Luxemburg and Georgia.
Why is the Scottish rainforest so important?
Like all rainforests, these habitats provide a home for wildlife and plants to grow. These species, no matter how minuscule in size, are integral to our ecosystem. We are lucky enough to share the land with some incredibly rare species of plants and wildlife that is of high interest to the rest of the world.
The Scottish rainforest also offers a place to reconnect with nature and take time away from our crazy day to day lives. These natural spaces have a huge environmental and cultural value that once lost, cannot be replaced.
How can you help our rainforest?
Sadly, like many natural habitats, the Scottish rainforest is threatened by climate change. To flourish the rainforest needs a climate that is mild in temperature, with clean air and high rainfall. In comparison to other rainforests across Europe and the globe, Scotland does not face the same devastation from climate change just yet. However, it is still an issue that we must curve in order to protect this wonderful habitat.
Other issues faced at a more local level include overgrazing and invasive species that can eradicate native species.
The Woodland Trust created the Atlantic Woodland Alliance in order to take active steps in preserving and protecting our Scottish rainforest. The alliance is made up of sixteen members including The National Trust for Scotland, The Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB and more. Their role is to continue spreading awareness of the challenges faced, educate and advise on what we as citizens can do to help.
If you’d like to continue learning about the Scottish rainforest, then you can read The Woodland Trust’s 2019 report on the state of Scotland’s rainforest.