The little-known remnants of Britain’s temperate rainforests are scattered along the country’s Atlantic west coast. High rain-fall and a relatively mild hyper-oceanic climate create the conditions for a unique forest ecosystem and rare habitat. Scotland is home to the largest remaining acreage of these forests, although at only 1% of its original expanse is fragmented and vulnerable. Overlooking Loch Torridon in Wester Ross UNESCO biosphere, the mountain estate of Ben Shieldaig is home to two distinct fragments of native rainforest, birchwood and Caledonian pine. Woodland Trust Scotland recently purchased the mountain with ambitious plans to restore and expand Ben Shieldaig’s remaining ancient woodlands over the next two decades. These plans form part of wider regeneration partnership Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforests aims for restoration and reconnection of fragmented native rainforest across the entirety of Western Scotland’s temperate rainforest zone.
This ongoing film research project surveys the fragments of Ben Shieldaig’s rainforests. Reflecting on interconnections between the resident community, the forest and practices of conservation; entanglements of human subjectivities, labour and active matter of the forest ecosystem; coexistences of the spectacular and the fragile and the nature of forest time. With thanks to Woodland Trust Scotland and their conservation team at Ben Shieldaig Estate.