Rare Ancient Celtic Rainforests To Be Restored To Former Glory

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The nature around us has been here much, much longer than we have. Even new saplings originated from trees that have been on this earth for decades and decades before our arrival. Each river formation, rolling hillscape, and gathering of trees has a history that dates back to the very origins of our planet.

And yet, some have been lost to that time thanks to our interference, but no longer. There are programs out there seeking to reclaim, restore, and rejuvenate ancient natural landmarks so they may return to their status as ecological strongholds, starting with the rainforests of the U.K.

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Wonders Of The World

As anyone who’s even traveled a mile outside of their home would know, the world is full of beautiful, breathtaking sights. There are wonderous natural phenomena everywhere we look, with even common creeks, forests, or hills adding to the Earth’s collective beauty.

A single rock with a bush growing on it in the middle of a lake.
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In recent decades, these remarkable features have been at greater risk thanks to our planet’s continued industrialization. Imagine how bleak life would be if all the wonderful, natural features of the world dried up before we could appreciate them…

Rebuilding A Rainforest

Thankfully, there are people out there working hard to preserve the spaces we have left and bring back old ones that have suffered under humanity’s weight.

Rows of recently-planted saplings.
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Two rainforests, one in Wales and the other on the Isle of Man, are the first two restoration projects that will be taken on by local Wildlife Trusts, hoping to restore them to their formal, primeval glory.

Wildlife Trusts is a program aiming to recover rare habitats across the British Isles, and rainforests that far north are certainly rare.

Small In Size, But Important In Scope

These two forests are what’s known as temperate rainforests, also called Atlantic or Celtic rainforests. They’re usually in places with exposure to the sea, or ‘high oceanicity,’ with high rates of rainfall and humidity. They also remain roughly the same temperature throughout all the seasons.

A rocky stepping path through a forest.
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As mentioned, it’s a very rare habitat that’s under even more threat than tropical rainforests. They only cover 1% of Britain and have largely been bowled over for the sake of agriculture over the past couple of centuries. They’re very lush and host many rare types of flora, lichens, and fungi.

Sprawling Recovery

That type of plant diversity and sustainability is exactly what Manx Wildlife Trust is hoping to bring back and preserve for future generations with their project.

A hill of flowers in the Isle of Man.
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At Creg y Cowin on the Isle of Man, over 70 acres will be treated and replanted with native tree species, with another 20 acres being allowed to regenerate naturally.

The trust also plans to look after the less plant-dense areas such as fen-meadow, lowland heath, waxcap grassland, and various ponds to ensure a wide variety of habitats for tons of species of wildlife.

Familiar Faces

They’re hoping for the return of some specific species that used to be plentiful in these areas before their decline, such as wood warblers, pied flycatchers, and the restart. There’s also the potential for a number of species of raptors, owls, and other woodland invertebrates to come back to the rainforest.

A wood warbler standing on a branch, facing the camera.
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There are also historical agricultural dwellings called tholtans on the land there, but they’ll be left for their historical and cultural significance.

This rebuild also has a number of benefits for the local human population.

Up And Running

There are some unique plans happening for Bwlch Mawr, though, including some areas being designated for friendly farming. There will also be a focus on the nearby wetlands specifically to help the marsh fritillary butterfly species repopulate, and management of the land in the future will be done via conservation grazing.

A foggy rainforest.
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Environmental campaigner and author of a book about these rainforests titled The Lost Rainforests of Britain, Guy Shrubsole, told The Guardian, “There’s real momentum now to restore and expand our amazing temperate rainforests, and it’s brilliant to see the Wildlife Trusts advancing their plans.”

The Human Benefit

Restoring the forest back to its ancient, most prosperous state might also increase water purity for the West Baldwin reservoir and all it serves, help with future flood prevention and contribute to a larger network of nature recovery programs on the Isle of Man.

A mountain range in Wales.
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Over in Wales, it’s the North Wales Wildlife Trust that will be presiding over the rainforests on Bwlch Mawr, which is a mountain that overlooks Bryn Ifan. They plan on replanting almost 100 acres of native trees and other plants to, like in Creg y Cowin, encourage further natural regeneration, creating a strong foundation for the temperate rainforest ecosystem.

More To Be Done

“But this should also be a kick in the pants to the U.K. government,” added Shrubsole. “If ministers want to see more farmers and landowners follow the Wildlife Trusts’ example in restoring rainforest and other vital habitats, they need to unlock funding, support the removal of invasive rhododendron, and publish a rainforests strategy for the country.”

A natural set of root and stone steps in a mossy forest.
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These projects were funded by a £30 million (roughly $37.5 million) donation from U.K. insurance company Aviva, who hopes that these restorations will help quell carbon pollution.

Standing Strong

Rob Stoneman, the director of landscape recovery at The Wildlife Trusts, said, “We’re delighted these first rainforest restoration projects can now get started. They’ll provide vital habitat for wildlife in a time of nature crisis, store vast amounts of carbon, and benefit local communities for generations to come.”

A road running through two halves of a forest, as seen from above.
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Restoring this gorgeous habitat will also allow adaptation to climate change, reduce threats from extreme heat, flood, and drought, and enable local people to reap the benefits.”

Reconnecting With The World

And Frances Cattanach, chief executive of North Wales Wildlife Trust, also had this to say regarding the forests’ history: “We are delighted to play our part in helping to restore Celtic rainforests to Wales—they are part of our ancient natural heritage. We look forward to working with the local community and farmers, to enrich what is already a very special cultural and environmental landscape.”

A low shot of a river running through a mossy forest.
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Not only is this an amazing step when it comes to nature preservation, but it’s returning the land to the way it was before we ever interfered, meaning it will be all the more powerful and serving to the world around it.

With projects like these, hopefully, we can continue to work alongside nature instead of against it in all our earthly practices.

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Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

Dan is a content writer with three years of experience under their belt, having mostly covered viral media but now shifting toward spirituality and astrology. He’s a strong believer in using one’s beliefs as a means of self-improvement and being in touch with whatever messages the universe has to offer.

He can’t wait to share his insights with a[…]