Carrifran Wildwood was the brainchild of local people who mourned the lack of natural habitats and decided to act. When Borders Forest Trust was founded the Wildwood became the Trust's first large land-based project, and after 20 years of work it has become an inspirational example of ecological restoration. Removal of sheep and goats and planting 700,000 trees launched the return of native woodland and moorland, transforming degraded hill land into something akin to its pristine, vibrant, carbon-absorbing state, teeming with plants, animals and fungi, alive with birdsong and the sound of the wind in the trees.
The 40 contributors vividly describe all the challenges of carrying forward bold initiatives requiring close cooperation with local communities as well as funders, authorities, landowners and partners. A core part of the book is devoted to how nature asserts itself when given a chance. It includes 'before and after' surveys, describes vegetation changes - some of them unpredicted - following removal of sheep, cattle and feral goats; unique documentation of the dramatic changes in bird populations during the 20-year transformation of Carrifran valley from denuded land to a restored mosaic of woodland and moorland habitats; discussion of the gradual development of a diverse range of invertebrate animals; and descriptions of the rich communities of fungi and mosses, many of them newly-recorded in the area.
The book concludes with discussion of the role of restoration ecology in addressing the biodiversity crisis and climate change. This is the extraordinary story of how a group of motivated people can revive nature at a landscape scale.