The Fight Is On

04 Apr 2019

This blog is by Alistair Whyte, Head of Plantlife Scotland, and was first posted on Plantlife website.

What kind of country do we want to live in? What do we want our countryside to look like? What wildlife and landscapes do we want to protect so we can hand them on to future generations?

These questions take on an alarming urgency in a time of unprecedented political turmoil and ecological crisis.

No matter what the outcome of current political negotiations, there is a risk that Scotland’s wildlife could be under significant threat as a result. 80% of Scotland’s environmental protections stem from EU legislation, and we need to take action now to ensure that these protections are replicated in new laws.

Plantlife Scotland has worked hard over many years to protect wild plants, and we have had some considerable successes, from the protection of rare marsh saxifrage populations on our Munsary nature reserve, to our ongoing work on twinflower in the Cairngorms.

But these successes are set against the backdrop of ongoing decline in wild plant populations in the wider countryside. Changing land management practices, climate change, industrial pollution and, lying behind all of these, a damaging disconnect between people and nature, have given rise to catastrophic declines of species which were once widespread across the country.

One in four wildflowers in Scotland is threatened with extinction. Native wild flowers are being lost at a rate of up to nearly one species per year per county. Across the UK, we have lost 97% of species-rich grasslands in the last 100 years. And these trends are showing no sign of slowing.

We believe that it is vital to protect our precious species and habitats for future generations. We believe that our countryside can and should perform a multitude of functions, from food production to nature conservation, and that by integrating different land uses, and recognising the power that nature has to support land management, we can start to restore our beleaguered wild plant populations.

And we know that we need a strong legal framework if we are going to achieve this. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the future of environmental protection in Scotland following our exit from the European Union. Plantlife has joined forces with conservation organisations across Scotland to fight for the future of Scotland’s nature.

It’s vital that we stand together to fight for our wildlife and natural landscapes. If you would like to help our fight, please add your voice to our petition here.

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