Metabiosis: Black Isle is a project set out as a Community Manifesto; encouraging residents of the Black Isle in rural Scotland to take back ownership of their local woodland using the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, the community right-to-buy scheme and chiefly through landscape architectural interventions; turning it into a force for greater social and ecological good.
Through long-distance ethnographic study and an engagement with the lived experience of a place, the manifesto conveys a transformative method activating the true power of community narrative whilst enabling residents to procure and transition their forest at the speed of trust – trust in the ideas and interventions proposed, but also trust in themselves as a robust, engaged and resilient community.
New gravel trails, diverse approaches to forest management and an increase in productive planting will allow the community a level of self-sufficiency not seen since crofting dominated the landscape. The manifesto advocates for a strong focus on local materiality and cyclical ecology loops, encouraging re-use and a greater awareness for the metabolisms of the wider Black Isle landscape.
By contemplating the oft-deemed invisible processes of a ‘forestscape’ it may be possible to propose a lens through which a different form of social commons, rooted in the stories of the places from which we live, can prosper. This lens will seek to empower the Black Isle community in transitioning to live with their forest, rather than simply beside it.