Bunloit, Beldorney & Tayvallich Estates

Bunloit, Beldorney & Tayvallich Estates

Key Facts

  • Highlands Rewilding owns and operates three sites in Scotland as ‘outdoor natural capital laboratories’, for nature recovery and community prosperity: Bunloit, on the banks of Loch Ness; Beldorney, in Aberdeenshire; and Tayvallich (Taigh a' Bhealaich), in Argyllshire.
  • Together these total 2200 hectares. Emissions reductions are anticipated to be largest from restoration of degraded peat at Bunloit, while sequestration in restored soils and woodlands is also expected to be significant.

What is the project doing for Nature and Environment?

  • Highlands Rewilding collects and analyses data for natural capital verification science across a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems from peatland, grasslands and woodlands to Scotland’s Atlantic Rainforest, and coastal, marine and wetlands habitats.
  • The carbon and biodiversity effects of rewilding and related forms of management are not fully understood and so we are developing cutting edge nature-based solutions research across our rewilding projects. 
  • You can read our latest research and about our land management approaches here.

How are communities engaged and benefiting?

  • Our approach to community empowerment in land management decision-making is set out in our Engagement Roadmap.
  • At Tayvallich, we have signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding with the community body Tayvallich Initiative, established a local management board, and have sold land to the community at cost.
  • We provide many new jobs, internships, apprenticeships and training opportunities across our three sites, and have recently launched a ‘Joint Ventures for Scalable Community Benefits from Rewilding’ project to capitalise on environmental improvements from rewilding.

What is the business model employed to fund the project?

  • We are a mass ownership company with over 800 investors, a majority of whom are ‘citizen rewilders’, and with no one shareholder owning more than 13% of shares at present.
  • We own and operate all three outdoor laboratories and to date have raised over £11 million in equity.
  • We will be running further investment rounds aimed primarily at partnerships between private, public and philanthropic institutions, unlocking further private capital in the embryonic nature-recovery market.

Describe the partnerships formed and how they support project viability?

  • Alongside key community stakeholders and our local management board at Tayvallich, we have partnered up with a group of local and UK-wide conservation organisations, ecologists and scientific specialists to develop our data collection and analysis, which will ultimately inform our intervention plans and recommendations for rewilding and natural capital uplift.
  • These range from teams from Oxford University’s Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery and the University of Edinburgh, to Agricarbon and NatureMetrics.

What are the main challenges and risks to the project and how are they managed?

There are many challenges in working towards nature restoration and community prosperity. These include:

  • The ongoing impact of climate change. We manage our land to increase the resilience of ecosystems against these impacts.
  • The risk that insufficient investment limits the success of restoration in preventing climate and biodiversity meltdown. Our work aims to bring a higher level of trust into these markets through rigorous natural capital verification science.
  • Demonstrating environmental and social benefits well enough to prompt widespread uptake of beneficial forms of management. We collaborate with researchers, publish our findings and share data as openly as possible.

Key Learning and Insights

  • Robust natural-capital data is key to underpinning credits and making the nature recovery industry investable.
  • It’s crucial to understand and transparently demonstrate the effects we have, and especially to show that restoration benefits people and the environment.
  • Empowering communities and contributing to a just transition is a crucial goal, as well as one that contributes to environmental outcomes.

Website: https://www.highlandsrewilding.co.uk/

Contact: info@highlandsrewilding.co.uk

For NFCA Members Only