CORNWALL Wildlife Trust has launched a public appeal to restore a long-lost temperate rainforest in Looe.

This is the start of a long-term project, and they are hoping to raise £50,000 to kick-start their regeneration efforts — so far £199 has been raised by donations.

Long ago, temperate rainforests used to thrive across Cornwall and were home to a huge range of amazing biodiversity. Now only small, fragmented patches are left as these ecosystems have been destroyed over time.

If successful, the appeal will restore one of the most biodiverse ecosystems back to Cornwall, allowing nature and wildlife to thrive.   

The habitat at the site now is at 8.4 percent rainforest
The habitat at the site now is at 8.4 percent rainforest ( )
In 2074 the temperate rainforest will cover 87.2 percent
In 2074 the temperate rainforest will cover 87.2 percent ( )

Callum Deveney, director of Nature Recovery at Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: “Cornwall is home to some of the last remaining areas of temperate rainforest in the UK. These unique habitats are magnificent and when you are walking through one it’s hard not to feel like you have been transported to another mystical world.  

“The majority of these rainforests in Britain were destroyed to make space for farming, transport, and development, but we now have an exciting chance to restore this important habitat to a site in Cornwall. In 2002, Cornwall Wildlife Trust was gifted 150 acres of land at West Muchlarnick, and this site includes pockets of rainforest already, making it the ideal place to begin the restoration project.  

“Our plan is to plant more native trees to connect these pockets, allowing for the natural regeneration of this lost ecosystem and increasing the cover of temperate rainforest from approximately 8.4 percent of the site to an estimated 87.2 percent. As temperate rainforests have a huge potential to store carbon in the trees and their spectacular epiphytes (lichens and mosses that cover the trees) the project’s success is essential for winning our fight against climate change. 

“This is the start of an incredible, long-term project to restore thriving temperate rainforest to Cornwall and secure the future of its wildlife. We urgently need your support to help make it possible.”

The donations will go towards planting native trees such as sessile oak, rowan and hazel as well as providing fencing to protect new shoots that grow.

The project will also help wildlife. (Picture: Margaret Holland) (Margaret Holland)

The money will also help to fund important survey work to monitor the impact on wildlife and carbon capture.

The land at West Muchlarnick Farm was left as a legacy to the Cornall Wildlife Trust with the wish that the land be used to benefit wildlife. With 150 acres of land, much of which is not agriculturally productive, it has been marked as the perfect place to enable a wide variety of wildlife to thrive through this restoration. 

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