A project is under way to bring back vast areas of native woodland to the Western Isles.

Deforestation has taken place for centuries across the Outer Hebrides with Vikings, climate change and crop expansion all partly to blame.

But The Hebridean Ark aims to revive the tree population and have 100,000 more native saplings around Harris and Lewis by 2020.

David Mackay, of Shawbost-based Horshader Community Development, has been leading the project.

He said: "I've been planting trees for 25 to 30 years now, but there's an opportunity now to push out.

"We're trying to bring back trees that have always been here, they're part of the Hebrides.

"The genetics of these trees have a timeline going back 2,000 years on the islands - they're hardy, like the people here."

A seed bank is now being built up from species which have a historic connection to the island.

These include rowan, aspen, birch, willow, hazel and juniper.

Some are still found in remote locations, few and far between, such as on cliff edges and rocks close to lochs.

Benefits from the project could include the return of different wildlife, the creation of a natural wind breaker as well as helping to bring the community together.

Mr Mackay praised the work of the Woodland Trust and Forestry Commission Scotland for their involvement in such projects around the islands.

He added: "We here are trying to redress the problem of these trees disappearing from our islands.

"We're planting them not just for ourselves, but the next generation and the generation after that.

"It will bring species back that have almost disappeared."