Sylvestris: Moray farm cluster

£15,000 awarded

The success of the West Loch Ness Farm Cluster (which HIEF supported in March 2021) has led to the development of several spin-off clusters – this one is larger (20 famers & landowners covering approx. 13,000 acres) but is also significant as it is the first to include prime arable land.  There are 2 key issues to be addressed: a) habitat fragmentation & wildlife decline & b) climate vulnerability.  The cluster intend to manage their respective landholdings collaboratively to achieve landscape scale change, connecting existing habitat pockets with appropriate corridors & introducing nature-friendly farming practices to diversify vegetative structure & reduce the impact of extreme weather events on soil instability & hydrology.  Based on advice from the project lead of the West Loch Ness Farm Cluster, this grant is to build capacity within the cluster (eg creating a memorandum of understanding, baseline surveys, etc) to then apply for a larger (£250k+) grant from the next round of the Nature Restoration Fund.