A few days after the Atlantic Salmon was moved up to the ‘Near Threatened’ category of the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species*, Borders environmental charity Tweed Forum has launched a free best practice guide to riverside woodland planting, one of the most effective tools for protecting the fish from some of the effects of climate change and habitat degredation.
The right trees planted in the right riverside locations at the right scale can deliver a range of significant benefits including creating shade to cool waters that will help Atlantic Salmon populations to survive and thrive, increasing biodiversity, reducing soil erosion, slowing flood waters, improving water quality, sequestering carbon and enhancing the landscape.
Photographer: Colin McLean.
Sharing some of Tweed Forum’s two decades of experience in tree planting and catchment management at landscape scale, the guide is written for both experienced and inexperienced practitioners and provides practical insights and strategies for on-the-ground delivery of river woodlands. This ranges from advice on funding sources and applications including information on green financing through the Woodland Carbon Code to operational considerations such as tree species choice and sourcing, fencing and tree protection, contractor engagement and ongoing maintenance.
Delivery model development guidance is given including the creation of an overall vision on how the river landscape should look, the outlining of catchment-specific benefits such as pollution and nutrient run-off reduction which can also aid funding applications, river bank protection, integration with commercial forestry and farmer and landowner engagement.
Potential land and design constraints are also explained, and extensive resources provided on topics ranging from mapping and river temperature guides to soil risk and land capability maps as well as information on protected species and working within Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Special Areas of Conservation.
While much of the information within the new guide relates to Scotland-specific delivery mechanisms and legislation, a great deal of content is likely to be valuable for anyone working to establish riparian woodland across the UK.
Luke Comins, Tweed Forum CEO, said; “This new, user-friendly guide aims to provide the practical advice that landowners and organisations need to create riparian woodlands at the scale required to restore our riverside environments and deliver multiple benefits. Our burns, streams and rivers are the arteries of life running through our landscape, but they are in a fragile state. We hope that this new publication will provide a valuable roadmap to help with the delivery a network of thriving riverbank woodlands and healthy river ecosystems right across the country.”
Andrew Wallace, Fisheries Director at The Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust welcomed the launch of the best practice manual. He said; “The importance of restoring Scotland’s catchments is becoming an ever-greater priority, particularly given the recent announcement by the IUCN about the Atlantic salmon’s new and unwelcome status as ‘near threatened’ combined with the litany of other challenges facing the world’s freshwater habitats and species. We hope this distillation of all the latest information will encourage land-owners and managers to respond to these challenges at the pace and scale required to reverse some of these declines.”
The Practitioners’ Guide to Riparian Woodland Creation can be found on the Tweed Forum
website and is also available to download from the Scottish Wildlife Trust-led Riverwoods
IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature