An Lochan Uaine


According to Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), the control of deer populations has led to a remarkable regeneration of woodlands around the renowned green lochan in the Cairngorms.

An Lochan Uaine, located south of Aviemore, is famous for its emerald hue. FLS stated that deer culls have played a crucial role in allowing the woods in the Ryvoan Pass, which overlooks the lochan, to thrive. A comparison of photographs taken in 1984 and the present day clearly demonstrates the significant recovery of the area.

The distinctive green colour of An Lochan Uaine is a result of sunlight reflecting off minerals present in the rocks surrounding the lochan. Legend has it that fairies contribute to this vibrant hue by washing their clothes in the small loch at night.

Situated within an area of ancient Caledonian Forest that has managed to survive, An Lochan Uaine showcases the ongoing efforts of woodland restoration.

FLS showcased the progress of the woodland expansion through a photograph taken in 1984 by a forester named George Dey and a recent image captured by Rossina Parvanova, one of its ecology interns. The restoration work, which commenced in the early 1990s, has involved a combination of enhanced deer management practices and the removal of non-native trees.

Through these conservation efforts and the control of deer populations, the woodland surrounding An Lochan Uaine has flourished, providing a thriving habitat for various species and contributing to the overall regeneration of the Cairngorms’ natural environment.

Tom Cameron, an FLS area wildlife manager, said: “In the 1984 photo, you can see the trees were sparse with limited regeneration and vegetation growth.

“That was down to deer trampling and grazing on vegetation and new shoots.”

He added: “Ryvoan Pass has regenerated itself incredibly well in the absence of deer.

“You can see the Caledonian pine has expanded back up the hillside, accompanied by the associated native broadleaf species such as willow, rowan and birch.

“We haven’t added or planted anything here – nature did this all by herself once we increased deer management efforts.”



At Natural World Fund, we are passionate about stopping the decline in our wildlife.

The declines in our wildlife is shocking and frightening. Without much more support, many of the animals we know and love will continue in their declines towards extinction.

When you help to restore a patch of degraded land through rewilding to forests, meadows, or wetlands, you have a massive impact on the biodiversity at a local level. You give animals a home and food that they otherwise would not have had, and it has a positive snowball effect for the food chain.

We are convinced that this is much better for the UK than growing lots of fast-growing coniferous trees, solely to remove carbon, that don’t actually help our animals to thrive.

This is why we stand for restoring nature in the UK through responsible rewilding. For us, it is the right thing to do. Let’s do what’s right for nature!

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