A new crowdfunding scheme is being launched to allow people to buy into rewilding projects in the Highlands.
A mass-ownership company Highland Rewilding Ltd has been set up to help nature recovery in the lead up to the COP26 climate summit.
It has emerged from the Bunloit Rewilding Project near Loch Ness and the Beldorney Estate in Aberdeenshire.
Making rewilding ‘accessible to all’
It aims to replicate versions of the Bunloit rewilding model on further land in the Highlands to increase carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
The new company aims to “make rewilding accessible to all” and not just wealthy landowners, by offering shares in rewilding land.
Further details are yet to be announced, but it is expected shares will be offered from around £10.
By creating “citizen rewilding” it aims to “increase our impact as an accelerator of nature-based solutions, tackle the rising inequalities of land ownership in Scotland, and repopulate the Highlands, while making an ethical return on investment”.
The 1,262-acre Bunloit Estate was bought last year by Jeremy Leggett, founder of the solar energy company Solarcentury and former scientific director at Greenpeace.
This year he added the 860-acre Beldorney Estate in Aberdeenshire and the two sites will work together on rewilding initiatives.
The first project for Highlands Rewilding is the ownership of, and nature-based business on, Beldorney.
The estate will be home to the COP26 Innovation Zone ‘Forest of Hope’ which aims to create a model for fighting the climate and biodiversity crises.
Climate crisis needs community help
Mr Leggett said: “Tackling climate meltdown and biodiversity collapse requires the full fighting involvement of communities, if it is to have any chance of success.
“I hope this people-power company, marrying as it will capital across the full spectrum of investors who are rewilding enthusiasts, will prove as transformative as some of the companies I was privileged to see rise and prosper during the solar revolution.”
Plans for Bunloit envisage encouraging native tree species in woodlands, increasing pasture biodiversity, peatland restoration and new wildlife corridors.
There are also proposals for new homes and businesses.
The estate is also part of a project to return an area of the Highlands covering more than 500,000 acres back to nature.
The 30-year rewilding initiative by Trees for Life aims to connect a swathe of landholdings as one vast nature recovery area from Loch Ness to Kintail.