The Scottish Government published the ‘final draft’ of its biodiversity strategy at the tail end of last year. It coincided with the UN biodiversity conference in Montreal, where world leaders agreed on a global framework for nature’s recovery, known as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
LINK welcomes the publication of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy (SBS) which has the potential to be instrumental in turning the tide on nature loss.
The SBS needs to reverse losses and restore nature: this is clearly stated as the overarching goal of this strategy. The commitment to introduce a programme of ecosystem restoration is positive and, if effectively delivered, can help nature recover at scale.
We also welcome the twenty-six priority actions outlined to restore Scotland’s natural environment and halt the loss of biodiversity by 2030. Priority actions include:
– A plan for Invasive Non-Native Species
– Expanding and improving protected areas
– Actions to reduce deer densities
– Supporting nature-friendly farming
– A policy framework for restoring Scotland’s rainforest
– Recovering vulnerable species
It is also great to see new outcomes for making our best nature sites larger, better connected and in good condition, and improving the abundance and distribution of species – two areas which had been missing from the previous draft.
However, there is still work to do. The actions for species must go further and include a headline commitment to a national programme of species recovery. You could draw a parallel to any education system: different pupils need different approaches and support to thrive. Diversity is a strength but it needs to be actively supported, otherwise those species that don’t fit with wide scale habitat restoration will be lost such as the twinflower.
The strategy is based on the principle of tackling the nature and climate emergencies together. However, the SBS needs to be as powerful as Scotland’s Climate Change Plan. This is not yet being reflected: the climate change adaptation programme only goes as far as peatland restoration and woodland creation which are important but very specific. Both the climate and biodiversity emergencies must be being tackled together robustly and at pace.
Scotland has suffered a high level of historic nature loss, and we face even greater threats today. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to turn this into the Nature Emergency Strategy that Scotland so desperately needs.
This revised Scottish Biodiversity Strategy is still a draft to allow for any further amendments. There will be the opportunity for stakeholders to further consider the strategy alongside the consultation on the delivery plan which will be launched in spring 2023 with the final documents published in summer 2023.
You can read LINK’s consultation response here.
Image: Simon Jones