The State of Scotland’s Nature

Scotland, famed for its landscape, is also proud of its incredible wildlife.

Westray Seal

This is a wildlife, however, that is increasingly under threat with the abundance and distribution of Scotland’s species  declining over recent decades according to the 2019 State of Nature Report.

  • 24% decline in average species’ abundance
  • 14% decline in average species distribution
  • 49% of species have declined in abundance
  • 62% of species show strong changes
  • 11% of species are threatened
  • 38% decline in Scottish breeding seabird  indicator between 1986 and 2016

Average temperatures in Scotland have increased by 1% but it is not just climate change which has affected wildlife. The loss of habitat from farming and construction whilst marine life is the first to show the impact from plastic pollution.

Climate change is driving some species to move – some further north and others southward. The increased frequency of wildfires is further destroying habitat under increasing pressure.

The Flow Country

Peatlands and blanket bog which cover 25% of  Scotland play a vital role in carbon storage –  storing 1600 million tonnes of carbon. Recognising the importance of the peatlands the Scottish Government this year added an extra £11million to the £3million already committed to fund projects which will repair degraded areas. The Flow Country: Volunteering Opportunities for Young People Aged 16 to 25

In our seas, the kelp forests and sea grass, also store carbon.


photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

These underwater forests are crucial, for they not only store carbon but they give shelter and habitat to marine life. Known as Blue Carbon: mollusc and crab shells, skeletons of microscopic plants, coral and maerl store more than 1,700 megatonnes of inorganic carbon. Orkney’s Waters to be used to Investigate Blue Carbon

Birds feeding Mike Bell

On the 17th of October the RSPB want people to listen to bird song. The aim is to get bird song being heard and listened to everywhere as a message to politicians that we cannot let our birds disappear. To find out more visit: Let Nature Sing Takeover

No matter what size: on land, sea or air, the diversity of our wildlife is under threat. Protecting and increasing their habitats is not just for their sakes – it is for our own.

Marwick painted Lady butterlies Bell

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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