Regeneration work carried out around loch supplying water for COP26

Loch Katrine, which is the main source of drinking water in Glasgow, was hit by a series of landslides in 2019.

Regeneration work carried out around loch supplying water for COP26 iStock

Major environmental regeneration work is being carried out around the loch which will provide water for world leaders at the COP26 climate summit.

Loch Katrine, in the Trossachs, is the main source of drinking water for Glasgow, supplying 1.3 million people in and around the city and across the central belt.

However a series of landslides caused by extreme wet weather in 2019 devastated the area.

Now Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is leading plans to repair damaged peatlands, conserve ancient woodlands and plant new native trees across 14,500 hectares.

The aim of the project is to improve the natural landscape, increase biodiversity and counteract the impacts of climate change – as well as safeguarding water supplies.

It is hoped it will help stabilise the land, protect against flooding and boost wildlife in the region.

Bosses at FLS said they have to understand how the landscape will be affected by climate change and rising temperatures in the future.

FLS forest management officer Martin Price said: “We’re in it for the long haul.

“We have to look at the impacts of climate change and new pests and diseases that will emerge as temperatures rise and plan ahead.

“We are also trialling alternative species to identify which ones might grow best in a warmer Scotland.

“It’s all about balance, and planting the right trees in the right places. It’s like a recipe.

“Planting must be site-appropriate. Firstly we identify what’s required, whether it’s timber production, public amenity, conservation or a mix.

“We have to know soil condition and predicted weather to be sure a crop can grow somewhere in 40 or even 80 years.”

FLS manages around 8% of Scotland’s national forest and land.

The agency has an annual target to plant 25 million trees each year, part of a national plan to see woodlands covering 21%of the country by 2032.

Coverage is currently around 17% – lower than in much of Europe but a major increase since 1900.

Around seven million seedlings are grown at FLS’s Newton nursery in Moray each year – including novel species – to provide stock for new forests.

Dr Mark Williams, sustainability and climate change manager at Scottish Water, which is collaboratiing on the project, said: “Loch Katrine and its surrounding catchment is a jewel in Scotland’s natural environment crown.

“Smart approaches to peatland restoration, planting and replanting, forest and land management, natural regeneration and biodiversity will mean Loch Katrine, for decades and longer to come, will be a valuable asset to our communities.”

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