Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Climate change threat to woodland

Steve Robertson, Sasha Saunders and Pat Rae
The biodiversity project team wants to preserve woodlands

Climate change could be the "last straw" for rare woodlands in the far north of Scotland already damaged by overgrazing animals, it is claimed.

The warning from the North Highland Forest Trust (NHFT) came as it received 250,000 from charities to help in its work to protect trees.

Upland birch woods, oak woods, wet woodlands and ancient wooded pastures have been identified as under threat.

NHFT said many of the habitats were on the very fringes of their UK range.

Key habitats

The funding - which has been welcomed by Environment Minister Mike Russell - will be used to run the Golspie-based trust's Far North Woodland Biodiversity Project over the next three years.

It will be led by trust manager Steve Robertson, woodland biodiversity officer Pat Rae and project support officer Sasha Saunders.

Trust chairman David Glass said NHFT was eager to work with communities and crofters in preserving the woodlands and turning them to the benefit of the local economy.

He said: "The woodland biodiversity project aims to conserve and enhance key woodland habitats within Sutherland and Caithness, whilst at the same time providing a boost to the local economy and contributing positively to climate change mitigation."

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