Carrifran Wildwood in the southern uplands of Scotland 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 A Journey in Landscape Restoration 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.
A Journey in Landscape Restoration concludes with a 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.
Philip and Myrtle Ashmole are biologists whose previous books include St. Helena and Ascension Island: A Natural History, The Carrifran Wildwood Story and Natural History of Tenerife.
"[...] For those seeking guidance there is much to learn from this book, particularly for anyone inspired to take action of a similar vein. As an example of community working, as well as how to facilitate the natural development of a landscape it is truly an exemplar and an inspiration; as a friend commented to me recently: "Very impressed by the new Carrifran book. The multi-authorship has been very well brought together into a great and coherent story of a brilliant community enterprise. [I] Hope it informs and inspires others!" I wholeheartedly agree."
– Diana Gilbert, The Niche, winter 2020
"[...] It should appeal to readers thrilled by BFT [Borders Forest Trust]’s ambition and hoping to follow in its footsteps. The editors have made available a rich resource of information and illustration about a topical issue at a critical time. If the aim of the book is to make the reader want to visit Carrifran and its sister properties, it has worked on me."
– James Robertson, British Wildlife volume 32(2), November 2020