The project area is an iconic site in the central belt of Scotland. The 155 ha project is one part of a complex mosaic landscape of peatlands, ancient woodland and degraded wildflower meadows. Through holistic restoration of the project area, the aim is to turn the area into a thriving landscape with active ecosystem services and provide a haven for biodiversity. This will be achieved through diverse tree planting, restoring the peatland around the site and bringing back the degraded wetland into life around the project area. Banking on their in-house team of ecologists and liaising with local experts, the project matches the right species to where they will contribute most to the environment which will enable long term benefits for the entire Leadloch landscape.
Future Forest Company
The Earthly Rating
The Earthly rating is the industry-first holistic project assessment. This rating system consists three diameters of the project: carbon restoration, biodiversity, and human resource. Earthly researchers analyse 106 data points, aggregating information across the three vital pillars of carbon, biodiversity and people. Projects in Earthly's marketplace all exceed a minimum score of 5/10.
Project Area: Planning Process
The UK only has half of its natural biodiversity left, placing it in the bottom 10% of all countries globally. 70% of ancient woodlands in the UK have been lost. Today native woodland only covers 4% of the total land area of Scotland (NatureScot). Only 40% of the existing woodland in the UK is managed sustainably (WWF). If the world continues to release carbon and damage habitat at its current pace, a tenth of plant and animal species are at risk of extinction by the end of the century.
Based on the planting map, it is clear that the project not only will plant trees to restore woodland, but also will improve drainage to restore the surrounding peatland in the project area, and create wild habitats for pollinators and insects to come back to the ecosystem, paving the way for holistic restoration of the area.
Good for Earth
The Leadloch site consists of degraded peatland, improved grassland, fenland and conifer shelter belts. Vegetation analysis, bird and mammal surveys have been conducted on the project site, recording over 135 species to date. These ecological studies was conducted in order to ensure that no key habitats and species were adversely affected by the woodland planting. This work informed where planting was best and what trees were best to plant to be in keeping with the area. 97% of the area at Leadloch is planted with mixed Native broadleaf and Native Scots Pine, there’s a small component of 3% Norway spruce planted due to its site suitability along with it’s contribution to Carbon sequestration and benefits for red squirrels.
Past intensive agricultural activities have impacted the biodiversity matrix of the site and seen a decline of pollinator and insect species that populated the area. The project developers will be carrying out ongoing baselining over the next 12 months, including eDNA analysis of soils, ponds (when created), bat transects and pollinator transects, whilst trail cameras will be set up in the winter It is expected that bringing back floral diversity in the estate will fast forward the ecosystem recovery of the area and help set this area to be a wildlife hotspot site in Central Scotland.
Positive for People
The project is employing local (central Scotland) contractors to carry out all forestry, peatland and biodiversity-related work on the site where our own locally-based FFC staff cannot do it. The project has been initiated following in-depth due diligence on community consultation, grievance mechanisms and collecting stakeholder feedback. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code will be exercised through the woodland, and self-closing gates for recreational access will be provided to allow people easy informal path routes. The project is also liaising with local research institutions such as the University of Stirling to provide research and training opportunities for young ecologists and eager students, encouraging nature interests among youths.
The Future Company Company is a well-known forestry developer in Scotland who is on a mission to plant enough trees by 2030 to remove 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, restore biodiversity and fight climate change. They follow a nature-first approach in their work, keeping the environmental and ecological impact of their interventions at the heart of what they do, and provide certified UK Woodland and Peatland Carbon Code units, which are traceable, authentic and legally recognised. So far, their work spans 12 sites across Scotland across habitats and ecosystems which are monitored by our in-house forestry and ecology experts to ensure that the woodlands we establish stay healthy and are able to thrive long into the future.