Global biodiversity report: Where does Scotland stand?

06 May 2019

A ground-breaking assessment released today on the state of the planet’s nature found that human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before.

What about Scotland?

Scotland’s nature faces the same fundamental challenges. Despite environmental laws that have allowed us to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, 1 in 11 species in Scotland is at risk of extinction. Along with the vast majority of countries, Scotland is set to fail many of the global targets for halting biodiversity loss by 2020 (in Scotland’s case 13 out of 20 targets), ahead of a meeting of states in Beijing which will seek to renew efforts to protect our planet’s life supporting system.

Photo credits: Helen Todd

Stronger laws needed

The global assessment highlights that stronger environmental laws and their implementation are essential to tackle the underlying drivers of nature deterioration.

35 of Scotland’s leading environmental charities are calling for a Scottish Environment Act to protect and enhance Scotland’s nature. The charities, members of Scottish Environment LINK, say Brexit brings even greater urgency to the need for government action, as Scotland is set to lose 80 per cent of its environmental protections following an exit from the European Union.

Deborah Long, chief officer of Scottish Environment LINK, said today:

“The global biodiversity report released today paints a stark picture of the horrific damage humans are doing to the natural world we rely on. Scotland’s nature faces similar challenges. 5 per cent of our invertebrates and 13 per cent of our plants are at risk of extinction while our globally important seabirds have declined by 38 per cent since the 1980s.

“We’re facing a profound ecological crisis, and we need to take action fast. We can’t let ourselves be dragged backwards by losing decades of progressive European environmental legislation. A strong Scottish Environment Act would allow Scotland to retain and build on the protections we have at present, and to take action to safeguard the unique wildlife and landscapes for which the country is famous. Having our own Environment Act would also underpin the essential changes we need to tackle major issues like air pollution.”

Fighting for Scotland’s Nature

The charities are urging people to sign a petition to the Scottish Government calling for a Scottish Environment Act.



  • The IPBES 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is available at:
  • Scotland’s environmental charities are fighting for Scotland’s nature and calling for a Scottish Environment Act to maintain and enhance environmental protections:
  • In 2020, the Convention on Biological Diversity will adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework as a stepping stone towards the 2050 Vision of “Living in harmony with nature”. This will be a Global Deal for Nature which will aim to serve as a universal framework for action on biodiversity.
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