It’s not too late to save nature in Scotland but we must act now – that’s the conclusion from a coalition of 50 leading wildlife and research organisations behind the State of Nature 2016 report.
Following on from the groundbreaking State of Nature report in 2013, leading professionals from 50 wildlife organisations in Scotland have pooled expertise and knowledge to present the clearest picture to date of the status of our native species across land and sea.
In Scotland, one in every 11 species assessed is at risk of becoming extinct (9%) and for some groups of species that threat is even higher. For example, 18% of butterflies, 15% of dragonflies and 13% of plants are officially classified as being at risk of extinction. Across the UK as a whole, over one in ten species assessed are under threat of disappearing altogether (13%) and 2% have already become extinct.
There are many inspiring examples of the conservation action that is helping to turn the tide in Scotland. For instance, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is working with farmers and communities to create more habitats for great yellow bumblebees across their range in Caithness; the John Muir Trust is tackling damage caused by deer to ancient Atlantic oak and hazel woodland with a combination of fencing and planting; and RSPB Scotland is restoring the globally important expanse of blanket bog in the Flow Country after it was damaged by inappropriate commercial conifer plantations. But much more work is needed to put nature back where it belongs.
As the Scottish and UK Governments move forward in the light of the EU Referendum result, there is an opportunity to secure world leading protection for our species and restoration of our nature. Now is the time to make ambitious decisions and significant investment in the environment to ensure year-on-year improvement to the health and protection of the country’s habitats and wildlife for future generations.