Read our recent conversation with the pioneer behind Alladale Wilderness Reserve and the European Nature Trust, Paul Lister who has transformed thousands of acres in the highlands of Scotland to its natural land.
Can you share with us, for those who may not know, what Alladale is and its vision?
To put nature and biodiversity gain the goal of the project, with the ultimate aim of creating a fenced wolf reserve.
What was the tipping point for you to make this move to embark on such a significant, meaningful project?
When my father had a bad stroke some 20 years ago, I took stock and reflected on the purpose of my life. It was at that point that I decided to look for a place in the Scottish Highlands and establish The European Nature Trust.
What have been the largest environmental challenges in getting the land from what it was to where it is now?
Planting almost 1m trees was a gargantuan task involving many thousands of man-hours.
What have you most enjoyed learning and introducing into the environment during your journey?
Albeit slowly, watching the trees become stronger each season gives great pleasure. Releasing red squirrel back in the area was a great project that we were happy to support.
What does the future look like in the highlands?
With all the talk of rewilding the potential looks good….but the reduction of deer and a reduction in livestock numbers will be a great accelerator.
What advice would you give to anyone who might be looking at re-evaluating or considering a way of giving back to the environment?
Take time to visit several projects in the UK and mainland Europe; once you find a project that excites you then get involved.
What gets you out of bed in the morning and what are your favourite ‘places to protect’ in the world?
Each day is unique, no two days are the same for me… that’s a serious privilege. I am passionate about the last wild places in Europe, also Belize in Central America.
Alladale Wilderness Reserve is a 23,000 acre utopia located just over an hour’s drive of Inverness in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Alladale’s landscape offers, dramatic glens, colourful hills, glistening rivers and native wildlife. The reserve has three fully catered lodges for exclusive groups of between 2 and 30 guests from a comfortable Victorian home to the more adventurous who stay at Deanich Lodge.
Alladale’s conversation work is recognised worldwide and includes extensive native tree planting, peatland restoration, outdoor learning and multiple wildlife projects.
To learn more about Alladale please click here