Scotland missing targets to prevent wildlife extinction

Scotland wildlife habitats
                    Loch Carron Flame Shell Bed Image © SNH

Scotland is failing to meet international targets to prevent wildlife from becoming extinct, according to the latest assessment for the Scottish Government.

An analysis by the conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), reveals that current efforts to protect endangered animals and plants are “insufficient” to meet 13 of 20 agreed United Nations (UN) targets by 2020.

Precious habitats are being destroyed and at least 58 species are at risk of extinction, including wildcats, kittiwakes and the great yellow bumblebee. It is unclear, says SNH, whether the Scottish economy “is operating within safe ecological limits.”

On one crucial measure – the need to increase spending to protect wildlife – SNH concludes that “things are getting worse rather than better”. Funding for most of the public agencies tasked with nature conservation has declined in the last five years, it says.

SNH’s own funding has been cut by 26 per cent in real terms between 2012-13 and 2017-18, while budgets for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the two national park authorities covering the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond have dropped by 11 per cent. Funding for the Forestry Commission in Scotland has fallen by eight per cent since 2013-14.

Scotland failed to meet previous wildlife targets in 2010, and is now committed to 20 targets set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity for 2020. They are known as the Aichi targets, after the region in Japan where they were agreed.

Scottish Environment Link, which represents 35 environmental groups, is planning to write to MSPs this week to say they are “disappointed” at failures to meet most targets. They also criticise the positive spin put on progress by SNH and ministers.

Craig Macadam, Link’s vice-chair and conservation director of the insect campaign group, Buglife, warned that many species in Scotland were “racing towards the cliff edge of extinction.”

He said: “If we are to have any chance of halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity in Scotland and pulling these species back from the edge of extinction we need to be securing their future and the habitats they rely on – rather than repeatedly focusing on the process.”

Read more at The Ferret.

This article was originally published as Scotland missing targets to prevent wildlife extinction at The Ferret on 04/06/18.

Tags: , , , ,