The River Dee Board and Trust have been planting trees in the Upper Dee catchment as part of a programme to restore the catchment and protect salmon and freshwater pearl mussel populations. We aim to plant a million trees by 2035.

Since 2013 The Dee District Salmon Fishery Board (DDSFB) and River Dee Trust (RDT) have planted over 200,000 native trees along the river banks of the upper Dee and its tributaries, including the Geldie, Ey, Gairn, Clunie, Baddoch, Callater, Slugain, Gelder and Muick.

Marine Scotland predictions of climate change indicate that many upland tributaries will reach summer water temperatures that make streams uninhabitable for salmon; in 2018 for example the Gairn reached a water temperature of 27.5C, close to the lethal temperature for juvenile salmon. In a changing climate, a diverse ecosystem with a wide range of features, habitat types and species, is more likely to adapt to changes and ensure that the uplands can continue to be both ecologically and economically productive.

Riparian trees will lower the summer water temperatures in these important salmon nursery streams, both through direct shading of the watercourse and by cooling the ground water as it flows through the riparian zone. Riparian woodland also benefits salmon through: provision of insects for their diet; increased nutrients through leaf drop; and large trees and branches that fall into the stream will create spawning gravel and cool deep resting pools, protecting fish from predators. Trees also reduce the speed of water runoff from the surrounding land to reduce peak flood levels, and an increase in general biodiversity includes a wider variety of species such as black grouse, capercaillie and woodcock.

A Million Trees to Save Our Salmon

January 30, 2020

The River Dee Trust has announced plans to plant a million native trees in one of the biggest nature restoration projects in the Cairngorms. The project will recreate areas of landscape that have been lost for 2000 years.

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