Species on the Edge: Nature project aims to save more than 40 of Scotland’s most vulnerable

More than 40 of Scotland’s most vulnerable coastal and island species are the focus of a new campaign, Species on the Edge, which aims to save Scotland’s nature for future generations.

By focusing on species that are quite literally “on the edge”, the project will work with some of the most geographically remote and diverse communities in Scotland to take practical action to save such species that include the natterjack toad, Scottish primrose and little tern.

A recent research report, The State of Nature Scotland, found that 49% of Scottish species have decreased. Of the 6,413 species found in Scotland that have been assessed 11% have been classified as threatened with extinction.

Of the 40 ‘Red List’ species targeted by the project, 19 are threatened by land use change, 8 from climate change and the remainder through a combination of influences such as pollution, invasive non-native species and exploitation.

Species on the Edge sees project initiator, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) team up with other nature conservation charities – including Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, The Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife Scotland and RSPB Scotland – to provide a lifeline for Scotland’s nature .

The project will combine expertise and resources to develop a four-and-a-half year programme for seven project areas, from the Solway to Shetland, benefitting over 40 vulnerable species including vital pollinators like the great yellow bumble bee, rare Scottish moths such as the slender scotch burnet, wading birds such as lapwing and curlew and the ‘jewel of the north’, the Scottish primrose.

Francesca Osowska, SNH’s Chief Executive said: “Species on the Edge is among the UK’s most ambitious nature projects to date, combining knowledge, expertise and resources to save Scotland’s nature for future generations.

“People know that climate change is a big issue but not as many know that biodiversity loss is also a global and generational threat to human well-being.  But it’s not just about conservation – enriching our nature is also part of the solution to the climate emergency too.”

“As lockdown conditions lift, green recovery projects like Species on the Edge put nature, and nature-based solutions, at the heart of rebuilding our economy. Investing in nature is the most cost effective way of making our communities sustainable and more resilient.”

Initial development of the project is estimated to cost £0.5 million and has been kick-started by a National Lottery Heritage Fund award of over £260,000.

Scottish Natural Heritage

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.

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