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RSPB to buy forestry plantations in Sutherland

Dub Lochan Trail at Forsinard

RSPB Scotland has used new powers to apply to buy large areas of Forestry Commission plantation at Dyke and Forsinain in north Sutherland. The national bird charity is able to apply under the new National Forest Land Scheme which gives communities, and certain non-governmental organisations, the opportunity to bid to buy or lease national forest land on the basis that it provides increased public benefits.

RSPB Scotland aims to restore these areas of forest to open peatland, restoring the associated habitats and biodiversity, whilst also protecting the carbon stored in deep peats. It already owns a large area of land at its reserve on neighbouring land at Forsinard. The proposed purchase sites total 1705 hectares.

Before a decision on the sale is made, a consultation period is required by the scheme and public comments on any aspect of the proposal are welcome. Details of the application can be viewed on line at www.forestry.gov.uk/nfls and all comments on the proposals detailed in the application must be submitted by 19 January 2010.

RSPB Scotland has also announced this week that whilst the Capercaillie is doing well on the large reserve near Nethy Bridge in Speyside, the rare bird is under increasing pressure in Aberdeenshire. The small populations are becoming isolated from one another and threatening future breeding seasons. Numbers of capercaillie in Deeside and Perthshire have also declined to a critical level, the RSPB warned. The RSPB says that the situation in Aberdeenshire has become so severe that the bird may be facing “local extinction” in this area.

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