THE River Dee Trust has announced plans to plant a million native trees in the Cairngorms, with the aim of recreating areas of landscape that have been lost for 2,000 years.

The trees will help prevent a repetition of the high river temperatures which damaged young salmon stocks on the Upper Dee two years ago. They will provide nutrition and shelter for all river species, and will encourage a wide range of wildlife to thrive.

The £5.5 million project is being led by the Trust with the support of the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board.

River Dee director Dr Lorraine Hawkins said: “Atlantic salmon are now virtually extinct across their southern European range and are vanishing fast in the south of England. All the major Scottish salmon rivers have seen drastic declines. At current rates, we may have just 20 years to save the species.

“We know there are catastrophic losses at sea. Those factors must be tackled urgently. But we can take action now to give the young fish their best chance of survival before leaving their native rivers.

“Several current projects should produce immediate benefits. But we must also provide shade against more of the extreme temperatures we have been told to expect, while restoring a whole ecosystem that’s been degraded over many centuries. This will help our threatened salmon, and all wildlife will benefit.

“We are determined to do everything we can to help nature help itself.”