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Lochaber-based JAHAMA Highland Estates, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, was today [21st June] honoured for its extensive tree planting programme on lands surrounding the Group’s aluminium smelter and hydro power station at Fort William.
JAHAMA received the New Native Woods Award 2019 at ‘Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards’ ceremony in Edinburgh for its Kinlochleven Native Woodland Restoration project, which included the planting of 150,000 native trees on the Mamore Estate, including ecologically important species such as Scot’s Pine, Eared Willow and Common Alder.
Surveys have shown native woodland cover has increased from 23% to 43% within the restoration area and overall woodland is up by 608 hectares.
The panel judges said: “The planting and natural regeneration of the 228ha Kinlochleven Native Woodland Restoration project has made, and continues to make, a significant impact on the long-term future of native woodland in this part of the West Coast of Scotland.”
Head stalker for the Mamore Estate, Cameron Loudon, and senior forestry consultant at managing agent Bidwells, Ian Stewart collected the award on behalf of JAHAMA.
Cameron said: “I feel honoured to accept this award on behalf of a team whose hard work has been the defining feature of this restoration project for almost two decades. We look forward to continuing to deliver our wider vision for woodland expansion and conservation across the estates.”
JAHAMA Highland Estates was created after GFG acquired the smelter, hydro station and 114,000 acres of estate lands in 2016 and immediately committed itself to continue to expand the woodland planting projects already underway there.
In addition to the Kinlochleven project, the Estate’s team also planted 84 hectares of trees – equating to 204,530 conifer and native broadleaves – at Am Maol in Glenshero last year and has recently finished planting 90,000 trees along the River Spey in the Creagan Breaca area of the estate. The new plantation will enhance water capture and retention, helping the conservation of native river species downstream such as freshwater pearl mussel, sea lamprey, otter, and salmon.
The ‘Finest Woods Awards’ are made during the Royal Highland Show, which is organised by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, founded in 1784. As a highlight of the UK’s agricultural calendar, the event attracts over 1,000 trade exhibitors.