What is Carna Conservation Initiative?
Carna Conservation Initiative is a social enterprise which aims to improve both the ecological and economic sustainability of the Isle of Carna and its surrounding communities.
Formed as a co-operative project between the owners of the island, conservationists, local businesses and members of the local community the primary objectives of the Initiative are:
- To protect and enhance native Scottish wildlife and it’s habitats on and around the Isle of Carna
- To improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the island
- To benefit the local economy and communities.
Historic climatic changes and the effects of the industrial revolution lead to much gradual deforestation of the local area including Carna. The subsequent overgrazing by intensive sheep farming peaking in the post war period, greatly reduced the biodiversity of habitats on the island. Over the last 15-20 years, with agricultural decline in the area, it has been given a chance to start recovering; with young native trees regenerating, an increase in the diversity of grasses and other flora, as well as an increase in the birds, bees, butterflies and many other species of wildlife that rely on them.
Unfortunately this decline also meant the loss of active management of the land which has now led to the opposite problem in some areas such as under grazing, the loss of wildflower meadow and invasion by damaging species such as bracken and rhododendron.
With a new generation beginning to take over the running of the island, Carna Conservation Initiative was formed with local partners to carefully restore and manage the habitats that exist on the island and the species they support in order to make sure they are valued and protected for the long term, as well as creating some new habitats such as wildlife ponds and new oak and hazel plantations.
Key to achieving this is the successful promotion of the island as a destination for eco-tourism, learning and research. Without economic sustainability the island will continue to decline and funds will not be available to carry out our planned ecological restorations and improvements. We also look forward to seeing this contribute to the economic sustainability of the wider area and communities which can be very fragile in the face of wider economic changes.
Day to day, the management of Carna Conservation Initiative is the work of:
Harry is one of the owners of the island and has worked in food, farming, land management and hospitality. With a passion for sustainable food, farming and conservation. Harry is intimately involved in the development of the Initiatives projects, particularly the conservation grazing and woodland regeneration, and organises the marketing and hospitality side of the project. He holds a degree in Agri-Business Management and a Diploma in Food & Wine with a strong passion for local and seasonal food and cooking.
Andrew has lived and worked in the area for the last 30 years in tourism, seafoods, engineering and deer management, with the last 12 years working on Carna and running his own wildlife watching business Ardnamurchan Marine Centre. He is a fully WiSe accredited operator with exceptional local knowledge he takes the lead in the operational and logistics side of the initiative as well as focusing on the marine environment. Andy is a key member of local community organisation CAOLAS which helps monitor and protect the surrounding Loch Sunart MPA (Marine Protected Area). Andy and his team look after all our guests from booking to arrival to departure and are always on hand to provide advice and assistance.