Loch of Clunie has what is called open water transition fen which is an area that is constantly wet and - if left - will eventually become wet woodland.
This can be maintained by beavers, which were extinct from Scotland for over 400 years. Beavers eat water plants such as water lilies, bog bean and other grasses. The wet fen creates places for a variety of flies, beetles, dragonflies and damselflies. Amphibians such as frogs need it for breeding and they will hibernate in the mud at the bottom of pools. Young fish (fry) have a safe haven here, and they will eat the insects and grow into larger fish on which otters will feed.
Reeds create a nesting place for birds such as Reed Buntings, whose young eat many of the insects. Bats such as the Daubenton’s fly low over the loch to catch insects. This is biodiversity, the connection between the landscape, plants, insects and wildlife, all of which rely on the habitat.
As well as the wet fen, the loch itself is mesotrophic, meaning it contains a moderate level of nutrients. There are very few mesotrophic lochs in the UK. The levels of nutrients and phosphates in the loch provide ideal conditions for a very rare plant, slender naiad (najas flexilis), to grow in the loch, in water between 1 and 5 metres deep. Dams built upstream by beavers can filter and help prevent phosphate or other pollutants from the land flowing into the loch.