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Wild isles at their wildest

Scotland boasts over 16,000 kilometres of coastline and its bountiful inshore waters support a wealth of marine species and ecosystems, much of it vital to local livelihoods. Despite nominal protection, these coastal riches are increasingly threatened by unsustainable and destructive fishing on an industrial scale, including dredging and other bottom-trawling activities that devastate the seabed. Frustrated at the lack of support from policymakers, local communities in Scotland have begun to take marine protection and restoration into their own hands.

The Scottish mainland, meanwhile, is probably most readily associated with mountain and moorland scenery, but many of its landscapes are far from natural. Ancient oak and pine forests once covered most of the country. Agricultural expansion and, in particular, sheep farming, led to widespread deforestation. Regeneration is hampered by poor soils and by an over-abundance of browsing deer, which have no natural predators. Scotland has ambitious plans to restore its lost forests through a nationwide replanting scheme, and other restoration initiatives are under way, including the reintroduction of beavers and other species that once played a crucial role in the country’s ecosystems.

What wildlife does Scotland support?

Scotland is home to more than 90,000 species, over half of which are invertebrates. It is renowned as a stronghold for many of the species that have largely disappeared from England and other areas of the UK, including the iconic Scottish wildcat, golden eagle, red squirrel and Atlantic salmon, and less familiar, incredibly rare native species such as the chequered skipper butterfly, the Kentish glory moth and the shining guest ant.

Scotland’s coastal waters and offshore islands also harbour some of the most endearing and charismatic species found anywhere in the UK. These include puffins and porpoises, otters and orcas, the world’s northernmost population of bottle-nosed dolphins, and marine heavyweights such as the basking shark (the world’s second largest fish), the leatherback (world’s largest sea turtle) and the critically endangered flapper skate, a once-common fish related to sharks and rays.

The west coast of Scotland boasts spectacular but little-known temperate rainforests, while the Highlands contain the last vestiges of the Caledonian forest. Home to wild cats, pine martens, mountain hares and rare birds such as capercaillie, crested tit and Scottish crossbill, these ancient pinewoods have been reduced to just 1% of their former range.

Fauna & Flora’s work in Scotland

Fauna & Flora is helping our partners to address growing concerns about the management of Scottish seas, which support an astonishing 8,500 animal and plant species, ranging from tiny barnacles and elegant anemones to the mighty minke whale.

We work closely with coastal communities and local NGOs to support their efforts to ensure a better future for Scotland’s inshore waters. We support a range of Scottish conservation groups through the Coastal Communities Network (which Fauna & Flora helped establish). This coalition gives local people a collective voice and enables them to realise their ambitions for locally appropriate marine protection.

The Community Support Fund

The Community Support Fund is a dedicated small grant fund, operated by Fauna & Flora. It is intended to enable community groups to meet specific, locally determined goals and outcomes, with the overall aim of progressing local biodiversity conservation or group development.

Grants can be sought by CCN members and other community-based organisations that Fauna & Flora already work with.

Access the application form on the CCN website

Alternatively to find out more, get in touch with Rebecca Plant, Programme Manager, Scotland.

Our work in Scotland

Supporting community-based conservation in Scotland
Gullane Beach. © Lizzie Duthie / Fauna & Flora

Supporting community-based conservation in Scotland

Fauna & Flora is working across Scotland to empower and connect community-based organisations, enabling them to lead loc...
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