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What state is Scotland’s wildlife in?

Scottish Parliament debates progress report on Scottish Biodiversity Strategy

The Biodiversity Task Force of Scottish Environment LINK has welcomed the debate today (Thursday 24 January 2008) in Parliament by MSPs on the implementation of  Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy following the publication of a report that considers the progress made over first three years since its launch in 2004.

Scotland’s Biodiversity: It’s In Your Hands
is a framework for action to conserve and enhance biodiversity for its people, economy and wildlife and was developed as part of the UK’s pledge to the European and international commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010. 

Despite the many positive steps taken by government, voluntary bodies, local authorities, businesses and individuals over the last three years, the report also illustrates the many challenges that lie ahead. Most recent statistics show that 30% of priority habitats and 18% of priority species in Scotland are in decline. Climate change, diffuse pollution, over grazing in the uplands and fragmentation of natural habitats are all exacerbating the problem. Our cliffs and coasts, once famous for huge colonies of breeding sea birds are now under serious threat as oceans warm; food supplies for breeding birds dwindle.

Dr Deborah Long, Convenor of Link’s Biodiversity Task Force said: “Scotland’s rich biodiversity, with our unique range of habitats from temperate rainforest to high mountain tops, sustains a large part of our rural economies and underpins our sense of place. While we have made significant progress over the last 3 years in conserving some of that biodiversity, we still have a long way to go to meet our target to halt the loss of biodiversity in Scotland by 2010. The debate on Thursday, following the report to parliament published in December, provides us all with the opportunity to assess progress to date and plan action to meet future targets. As Scotland necessarily takes on more work to meet this target, less is likely to be achieved as the government’s funding commitment to support this work declines. We are looking forward to an informed debate on Thursday on how to maintain our rate of progress towards the 2010 target.”

Stuart Brooks, Head of Conservation for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, a member of Wild Scotland, said: “We are delighted to see that progress is being made in some areas. The report shows that some species such as otters are increasing in numbers and visitors enjoying the outdoors are on the rise. This really demonstrates the benefits of protecting and enhancing our wildlife. But the time for planning and strategising is over. We can only speak of successes when we see our most important species and places recovering, when Scotland stops destroying its most valuable natural assets and there is a sense of collective pride and enjoyment in our wonderful natural environment. We look forward to working with government to make this a reality.”

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