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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 07:34 GMT 08:34 UK
Funds to protect natural beauty
The capercaillie is one of Scotland's wildlife treasures
Almost 3m is to be spent protecting some of Scotland's finest landscapes and wildlife.

The three-year Scottish Natural Heritage funding has been awarded to the National Trust for Scotland.

It will mean increased protection for native woodlands and moorlands, as well as monitoring of rare species like the red squirrel and capercaillie.

There will also be extra promotion for outstanding areas such as St Kilda, Glencoe and Torridon.

SNH said the conservation grant was worth a total of 2.9m to help protect and provide access to the country's special wildlife and landscapes.

Rare species

The National Trust for Scotland manages about 78,000 hectares of countryside.

Chairman Roger Wheater said: "The trust has agreed a work programme between 2005-08 for management of its 40 countryside properties.

The conservation work will take place over three years

"This includes projects such as survey and monitoring of rare species and habitats, path management, development of interpretation and education projects and work with local communities and farmers."

SNH chairman John Markland said: "It should be extremely reassuring to anyone who loves nature that so many of Scotland's most treasured sites are in such safe hands."

Conservationists have already warned that the Scottish landscape could be threatened as modern industries take over from traditional ones, like farming.

Fears have also been voiced over the impact on the countryside of increased tourism and new methods of power generation.

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