THE Scottish Government has called on people across the country to submit their views on its new strategy for protecting and restoring Scotland’s biodiversity.

In response to evidence that Scotland faces ongoing declines in terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity, the new strategy aims to halt nature loss by 2030 and reverse it by 2045. However, doing so will require “transformative change”, according to the Government.

Scotland is home to an estimated 90,000 animal, plant and microbe species, some of which exist nowhere else in the world. However, 2019’s The State Of Nature Scotland report found that 49% of Scottish species had decreased, and of the nearly six and a half thousand species in Scotland, 11% were classified as facing possible extinction. On a worldwide scale, 26% of all mammals are threatened. The global nature of the crisis will be addressed in October at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in China.

Commenting on the Scottish Government’s new strategy, Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said: “We recognise that the interlinked crises of climate change and nature loss need urgent action across government and society. That’s why we’ve recently established the £65 million Nature Restoration Fund, committed to expanding protected areas and our National Park network, and supported the expansion of the beaver population.

“But we must do more. Sadly, the evidence tells us that Scotland, in common with the rest of the UK and the world, has not done enough over the two past decades to prevent the continuing decline in biodiversity.

“Our existing strategy, published in 2004, now needs a fundamental overhaul to address the new uncertainties we face as a result of the global climate emergency.

“In addition to high-level strategic leadership, we will need responsible public and private investment to achieve our outcomes and an inclusive ‘whole-of-society’ approach that engages with communities, business and decision-makers alike.

“This consultation is a key part of developing our new strategic approach. Biodiversity is important for everyone, and I would encourage everyone to share their views and help us shape this crucial roadmap toward a better and more sustainable future for Scotland.”

The National: francesca osowska chief executive of scottish natural heritage...photograph by michael

NatureScot chief executive Francesca Osowska (above) said: “The nature and climate crises cannot be overstated. We have reached a critical point where we must take ambitious action for nature now, and Scotland’s new biodiversity strategy gives us that opportunity.

“This national endeavour means that by 2045, we will have restored and enhanced biodiversity across our land and seas. Our plant and animal species will be richly diverse, resilient and adapting to climate change, and everyone will understand the importance and value of nature.

“I strongly encourage people across Scotland, partners, communities and businesses to get involved in the consultation and play a part in creating a nature-rich, net-zero future for all.”

Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy will be published on the Scottish Government website on Monday.