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25th November 2023

Celebrating National Tree Week 2023

National Tree Week 2023 (25th November – 3rd December) is a great time to take a closer look at some of the projects underway to protect our native species across the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. From MAC-CAN’s Galloway Apple Project to community tree nurseries, local, collaborative efforts to help preserve our regional varieties are helping support stronger ecosystems across this UNESCO-designated region. One example is represented by this fascinating photo, which is not artificial snow! This is broadleaf woodland near Loch Trool, where Forestry and Land Scotland have laid fabric under oak trees to collect acorns as they fall. FLS will gather these to grow on then plant in areas from which conifers have been felled.

One of the volunteer groups working to protect our native species of apple trees is MAC-CAN (the Machars and Cree Valley Climate Action Network) via the Galloway Apple Project. By focusing on reviving and repopulating traditional native varieties from the region, like the Galloway Pippin, they are protecting the genetic diversity of the local fruit trees. These traditional varieties are propagated by the group, then made available to community orchards, providing tasty, locally grown apples for local people. They’re also helping individuals develop skills in propagating, grafting and horticulture, passing on knowledge and practical skills and helping to inform future generations about the importance of protecting local biodiversity. To find out more about the project or to get involved, you can contact the group by email:, or at the Galloway Apple Project Facebook group. 

Current and potential growers will be interested to know that we’re looking to establish more community tree nurseries (CTN) in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. We’d love to speak to any community groups who are already involved with CTNs, as well as those that wish to set one up. These conversations will help us to learn about what it takes to start up a community tree nursery and what support is needed for them to thrive. We’re compiling this information to pass on to Scottish Forestry and to see what role the GSA Biosphere can play in providing support. Whatever stage you’re at in considering or planning (even if it’s just first thoughts) we’d love to hear from you. For more information or to register interest, please contact our Nature Recovery Officer, Antoine Lemaire, via

One of the most fascinating ‘tree stories’ within our Biosphere is that this region is home to a hidden gem which is thought to be under greater threat than tropical rainforests. This is the temperate rainforest, found only in places that have high rainfall and humidity and a low annual variation in temperature; less than 1% of the planet has these specific conditions. One of the best examples of temperate rainforest is the Wood of Cree near Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway. The lichen-covered trees and fern-draped landscapes create a serene atmosphere during these winter months, inviting us to explore this balance of nature. Despite the chill in the air, autumn and winter are ideal for seeing some of the beautiful and under-threat lichens that are unique to these rainforests. These habitats often contain over 200 different species of bryophytes and 100-200 species of lichen, from tree lungwort to hazel gloves fungus. As part of our Adventures in Nature series we produced a video on the Wood of Cree, which details some of the rare species you can find there. The Woodland Trust have also produced a short video explaining more about the UK’s temperate rainforests, which you can watch here. 

Is there a particular tree within our Biosphere that stands out to you, or a local tree-related initiative we could help promote? We’d love to see your photos and hear about community-led action to protect and propagate native trees, and your stories can be sent to us at This one pictured is one of our favourite trees in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, the native Crab apple tree.

To find out more about National Tree Week 2023 and how you can get involved, see the Tree Council’s website, and keep an eye on our social media feeds for more information on how you can get involved in protecting native trees within the GSA Biosphere region. We’re active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and pleased to put you in touch with relevant partners.



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