Scotland’s effort to protect its biodiversity ‘inadequate’

woodlands, biodiversity, wildlife

Scotland needs to take further action if it wants to preserve its wildlife and meet the international biodiversity targets, a new report showed.

NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency, revealed more work is needed on 11 of the 20 Aichi biodiversity targets set by the United Nations.

These include reversing habitat loss, tackling invasive species, reducing climate change pressures and safeguarding species.

NatureScot Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “There is a huge amount of work still to be done to tackle the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.

“This year, new global targets to improve nature will be agreed at COP15,” she added.

“Along with the COP26 on climate change, this gives Scotland a huge opportunity to address the many challenges and pressures that nature is facing.”

The report highlighted a “time lag” in translating Scotland’s ambitions in raising awareness of environmental degradation and embedding biodiversity values in its policies into concrete action that has a direct impact on ecosystems.


Although Scotland satisfactorily achieved nine of the targets, it needs further incentives to promote biodiversity, improve fisheries sustainability, speed up restoration of habitats and slow down the spread of invasive non-native species while preventing further extinction of indigenous wildlife.

Scotland is committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045, however, the report shows it is not always operating safe ecological limits to reduce the impact of the economy on the environment.

The report, which evaluates progress for 2019, came after the Scottish Government requested a performance assessment following a preliminary analysis by the agency that flagged up the 11 targets as ‘failed’.

At the time, ministers insisted they were on track for meeting the benchmarks by 2020. The final assessment on progress towards the Aichi Targets for 2020 will be published later this year.

The Statement of Intent on Biodiversity set out the Scottish Government’s priorities for tackling biodiversity loss as part of a twin-crises approach to ending our contribution to climate change and ecological decline.

As part of this, Scottish Ministers have announced plans to protect at least 30 per cent of Scotland’s land for nature by 2030.

This article was originally published as Scotland’s effort to protect its wildlife ‘inadequate’ at The Herald.

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