It wasn’t so long ago that vibrant, wild forest stretched its fingers across much of the Scottish Highlands. Beavers and cranes found sanctuary in extensive wetlands, salmon and trout filled Scotland's rivers and lynx, wolf and wild boar stalked woodland glades. Today, Scotland has become a nature-depleted nation. All of our large carnivores have gone, most of our large herbivores have gone and across huge areas, the intricate and balanced ecosystem that emerged from the ice 10,000 years ago, has been chopped into a thousand little pieces, unravelled by centuries of use and misuse. Boggy grasslands and treeless moors have become our signature landscapes, supporting very little life – wildlife or human life.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Scotland has an opportunity to become a world leader in ecosystem repair and restoration. A bold vision for Scotland’s future is evolving; a vision that looks forward not back; a vision that sees native woodland regenerating at a landscape scale; a vision where damaged peatlands are restored, and rivers lined by alder and willow run freely; a vision that sees a wilder, revitalised landscape driven by natural processes, supporting a much broader range of wildlife than exists today.
Having a vision for a wilder Scotland is having a vision for our own well being into the future. A wilder Scotland is not a people-less Scotland. It is a place where natural processes flourish, where ecosystems are working in all their colourful complexity to give life to the land and everything on it, including us. That’s our vision for Scotland. That’s the Big Picture.