A DOCUMENTARY film which explores the rewilding of Scotland’s rivers is set to make its TV debut. 

The Peter Capaldi-narrated film Riverwoods discusses the perilous state of Scotland’s iconic salmon and highlights the complex relationship between the species and the country’s forests.

Filmed over the course of three years, Riverwoods shows how the destruction of Scotland’s native woodlands has depleted salmon stocks and suggests that restoring forest habitats on the banks of rivers is an effective nature-based solution to ensuring a future for the species.

Produced by environmental charity Scotland: The Big Picture, the film proposes that rewilding Scotland’s environment as a whole is the best way to keep salmon returning to Scottish waters, particularly as water temperatures rise due to climate change.

The latest data shows that 35,693 Atlantic salmon were caught by anglers on Scottish rivers last year, the lowest number since records began in 1952. 

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“Salmon are a really important species to Scotland for a variety of reasons. They’re culturally important, they’re economically important, and they’re ecologically important," Mat Larkin, head of film-making at Scotland: The Big Picture, told The National.

“But they’re in trouble at the moment and a lot of people are looking for ways to save them.

“So, our idea is that if you want to save salmon you have to save the wider habitat, the entire landscape.

“Our thinking is that you can’t just concentrate on a species in isolation, as traditional conservation has done over the years, you have to look at the entire catchment.”

Atlantic salmon eggs can survive in water temperatures up to 16 Celsius. However, without shade from riverside trees and with climate change resulting in prolonged periods of hot weather, some of Scotland’s rivers are now exceeding the lethal limit.

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In recent years rewilding projects have attempted to address the issue, including by placing deadwood into rivers to create shade and boost biodiversity.

“There are projects ongoing on the River Dee, the River Spey, the Calder, to replant and recover this habitat along the rivers.

“But now individual landowners are seeing the film and getting in touch and asking what they can do. There’s a real desire in Scotland for nature to be prioritised.”

The rewilding movement has grown exponentially in Scotland over the past decade, with a rewilding network which aims to connect habitats across Scotland recently gaining its 50th member.

Indeed, National Geographic recently said that if all of Scotland’s rewilding projects are successful it would become the world’s first rewilded nation.

Riverwoods will be broadcast on 5Select at 8pm on November 7.