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article image'Lost world' of eight new species discovered near Loch Ness

By Robert Myles     Mar 5, 2013 in Environment
Biodiversity studies carried out on a charitable foundation’s ancient woodlands west of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands have unearthed a wide range of rare and endangered species, some previously unknown.
The charity Trees for Life operates Dundreggan Estate at Glen Moriston in Inverness-shire, Scotland just a short distance from Loch Ness. The 4000 hectare (10,000 acre) estate is managed by Trees for Life in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and The National Trust for Scotland. It forms part of a mammoth project to restore the Caledonian Forest over an area of 1000 square miles of the Scottish Highlands.
Sawfly larvae - Nematus Pravus - one of the new species found at Dundreggan Estate in the Scottish H...
Sawfly larvae - Nematus Pravus - one of the new species found at Dundreggan Estate in the Scottish Highlands
Image Courtesy Trees for Life
At one time, ancient Caledonian Forest comprising Scots pines, birch, rowan, aspen, juniper and other species of trees covered most of the Highlands in Scotland but nowadays only a few isolated pockets remain.
Biodiversity studies were carried out at Dundreggan as part of the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity which runs from 2011 to 2020 and the International Year of the Forests.
Aphids - Cinara Smolandiae on juniper tree
Aphids - Cinara Smolandiae on juniper tree
Image Courtesy Trees for Life
Amongst the new discoveries made was one species of sawfly and the first recorded British sighting of another. Extremely rare waxfly was found, only the second time this has been recorded in the UK. Researchers also found a number of species of spider, cranefly and dragonfly all listed as being in danger of extinction in the UK’s Red Data Book of endangered species.
The new discoveries mean that over 60 species designated for conservation have now been identified at Dundreggan Estate, some previously unknown in Scotland and others thought to have become extinct long ago. Such has been the treasure trove of species found by biodiversity researchers that the estate has been described as a ‘Lost World’. Full details of the new and endangered species found at Dundreggan are detailed on the Trees for Life website.
Fly and Cranefly on eared willow at Dundreggan Estate
Fly and Cranefly on eared willow at Dundreggan Estate
Image Courtesy Trees for Life
According to STV News, these latest finds at Dundreggan brings the total number of species recorded there to 2815, which includes 269 plants, 341 lichens, 92 birds, 20 mammals, 354 beetles, 207 moths and 125 sawflies.
Alan Watson Featherstone, Executive Director of Trees for Life, said: “The richness and diversity of life on Dundreggan is astonishing. The secrets slowly being revealed on this Highland estate suggest that we have much more to learn about the true extent of Scotland’s biodiversity. It’s a powerful reminder of the crucial importance of conservation work.”
Alan Watson Featherstone  Executive Director of Trees for Life pictured in a pocket of old Caledonia...
Alan Watson Featherstone, Executive Director of Trees for Life pictured in a pocket of old Caledonian woodland at Dundreggan Estate, Scotland
Image Courtesy Trees for Life
Trees for Life purchased Dundreggan Estate in 2008. It is planting half a million trees on the estate as part of its award-winning restoration of the Caledonian Forest. Tress for Life is also striving for the return of rare woodland wildlife, plants and insects to the Scottish Highlands as well as conducting scientific research and education programmes.
More about Scotland, scottish highlands, Loch ness, Wildlife, Endangered species
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