The Dalriada Project has surveyed, enhanced and maintained the biodiversity of open areas within the forest environment through the use of traditional grazing animals such as Highland cattle, Hebridean sheep and goats.
The land has been managed through grazing leases involving local graziers and traditional breeds, where possible.
Training of volunteers has contributed to the survey and monitoring of key indicator species.
The importance of open habitats and their associated species has been highlighted.
Open areas, including agricultural land are an important element of the heavily forested landscape mosaic. The very best of these habitats and associated species are protected through a range of designated sites but there is still a real need to improve such habitats in the wider landscape; particularly on publicly owned land where there has been little or no grazing for management in recent times. [hebridean sheep]
The project has provided an opportunity to to raise awarenes about open habitats and the management role of grazing in maintaining a diverse and species-rich landscape
Provision of training for land managers and the community provides the skills and knowledge needed to gather information on the Local Biodiversity Action Plan species and habitats found in these areas.
113 ha of open habitats over 5 sites restored for key Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) habitats and species.
Training workshops for land managers and interested groups held.
Up to 20 volunteers trained.
6 community and family events to increase knowledge and interest in local biodiversity and the identification of species.
113 ha of grazing available for local graziers over 5 sites.
Lead Partner – Scottish Natural Heritage.
Other Partners: Local farmers, Volunteers, Schools, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust.
An extra 74.5ha site was added at the Faery Isles in 2009 where eight highland cattle are grazing within the woodland Special Area of Conservation.
Grazing is ongoing and there is an annual meeting to monitor results.
Butterfly and larval web counts take place with specialists and trained volunteers.
Rush management was carried out in some of the grazing fields.
Awareness raising events have been held for the local community and visitors.