The Riverwoods initiative has created a new story map exploring the potential benefits of creating a network of thriving riverbank woodlands across Scotland.
Riverwoods: Our Story details the many positive effects of a healthy network of river woodlands for both people and wildlife. These benefits include reducing soil erosion and flood risk, improving people’s health and wellbeing, sheltering livestock, and encouraging crop pollination. River woodlands also host and support a wide range of wildlife including ospreys, otters, trout and salmon, bats and freshwater pearl mussels.
Despite these positive benefits, much of Scotland’s river woodlands face threats including overgrazing and the introduction of invasive non-native species. A survey carried out by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) across 44,000 km of riverside habitats found that 56% were of ‘Poor’ quality, with little to no tree cover or complex vegetation.
In the midst of the nature and climate crises, conservation action is desperately needed to improve this situation, and the Riverwoods initiative has set an ambitious goal of creating a network of thriving river woodlands across Scotland.
The story map also showcases past, present and planned projects that are working to restore river woodlands. Many organisations are working to improve rivers across Scotland, for example by planting native trees, protecting the riparian zone from grazing or adding fallen wood to the watercourse.
Riverwoods is an ambitious partnership initiative led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Project partners are Buglife, Confor, Fisheries Management Scotland, Forestry and Land Scotland, Green Action Trust, James Hutton Institute, Marine Scotland, NatureScot, Scottish Forestry, Scottish Water, SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, SEPA, Tweed Forum, the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes and Woodland Trust Scotland.