Charity vows to plant one million trees in next 15 years

A conservation charity has announced plans to plant a million native trees that will help halt the decline of salmon.

A conservation charity has announced plans to plant a million native trees in one of the biggest nature restoration projects ever in the Cairngorms.

The River Dee Trust say the £5.5m project will recreate areas of landscape that have been lost for 2000 years.

It is hoped the new trees will provide “nutrition and shelter for all river species” and help halt the decline of salmon in the area.

The project, being led by The River Dee Trust, is also supported by the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board.

River Dee director Dr Lorraine Hawkins said: “Atlantic salmon are now virtually extinct across their southern European range and are vanishing fast in the south of England.

“All the major Scottish salmon rivers have seen drastic declines and at current rates, we may have just 20 years to save the species.

“We must also provide shade against more of the extreme temperatures we have been told to expect, while restoring a whole ecosystem that’s been degraded over many centuries.

“Of all the major Scottish rivers, the Dee is especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures because of its land use. We are determined to do everything we can to help nature help itself.”

The River Dee Trust and Dee District Salmon Fishery Board have already planted nearly 200,000 native trees along tributaries, working together with landowners including those on the Balmoral and Invercauld estates.

Its aim is now to double the current rate of planting and reach the million-tree target within 15 years.

The main species of tree to be planted are alder, willow, rowan, birch, aspen and Scots pine, which would have been common in the landscape thousands of years ago.