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Carna Conservation Initiative

Thank you for visiting our website. Here, we hope you will find lots of useful information about the initiative, the island, the people involved, and the projects we are working on, and last but not least how you can become involved and do your bit to help with the regeneration and conservation work and various projects.

Carna is a small, approximately 600-acre uninhabited island situated in Loch Sunart on the northwest coast of Scotland. The island is kept economically viable through tourism and visitors.

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Carna Conservation Initiative is demonstrating how it is possible to have a viable business model based around tourism incorporating the importance of tourism as an industry in Scotland and our community responsibility to ensure tourism maximises visitor income whilst minimizing visitor impacts on conservation and the environment. Examples of this in other parts of the world are travel options to remote areas and zoning / restricting numbers and access to minimize disturbance by visitors.Carna Conservation Initiative is dedicated to the concept of “Destination management” rather than “destination promotion”. A high value low volume strategy designed to allow visitors to enjoy this amazing location whilst not only not damaging the environment actively benefitting the environment as much as possible. We are continually looking for ways to improve this, reduce visitors carbon footprint and and environmental impact.


“The objects of the company are to carry on activities which benefit the community and in particular (without limitation) to protect and enhance native wildlife and their habitats on and around the Isle of Carna. To improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the island, the surrounding economy and community.” Carna Conservation Initiative, Community Interest Company SC474860.
Formed in 2014 as a cooperative 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 its 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.

Why?

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 the 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.

Roy Military Survey of Scotland, 1747-55
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

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.

The 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:

Andrew Jackson

Carna General manager

Director Carna Conservation Initiative

Andy has lived and worked on the shores of Loch Sunart at Laga Bay for the last 35 years. This has involved working in wildlife tourism, seafoods, engineering and Charter boat Skipper, with the last 20 years managing the island of Carna. From a deep interest in wildlife as a child Andy has worked to promote ethical wildlife watching and monitoring, progressing into actively developing conservation and regenerative projects in the area and on Carna. He is also a fully WiSe accredited operator with exceptional local knowledge. Andy manages the operational and logistics side of the initiative as well as focusing on the marine environment. Andy is a founder member of the community marine protection organisation CAOLAS . Also Station Officer for Salen M.C.A. Search and Rescue and a founder member of Ardnamurchan Tourist Organisation.

WHO WE WORK WITH

COMPANY INFORMATION

Carna Conservation Initiative CIC is a non-profit, limited liability Community Interest Company registered in Scotland and limited by shares. Our registered address is Bruach na Fearna, Laga Bay, Acharacle, Argyll, PH36 4JW, Scotland. Our registration number is 474860.

COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANIES

A CIC is a business structure designed for social enterprises that wish to use their assets for the public good. CIC’s follow a non-profit model where all profits must further the company’s community objectives and all assets are locked for community benefit in the event of winding up.