Protect and restore Scotland’s nature

© iStock

Our nature is under threat like never before, and it’s not going to recover without intervention.  

We are calling on the next Scottish Government to make nature recovery central to decision-making to protect and restore our world-renowned nature. 

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© Maren Winter

Policy 1

Set legally binding nature recovery targets, supported by an action plan and financial support for delivery.

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Why?

Nature is vital. It provides our life-support system. But with 1 in 9 Scottish species at risk of extinction, it’s under threat like never before. This includes much-loved species like the red squirrel, capercaillie and wildcat. 

How?

We cannot tackle the climate crisis without addressing the emergency facing our most precious species and habitats. That’s why we’re calling for nature recovery targets to put nature at the heart of decision-making, helping to create nature networks, to invest in nature-based solutions such as trees and peatland which suck up carbon, to support land owners to manage land and soil sustainably, and to pave the way for effective management of key habitats.   

From flood mitigation to cleaner air, a nature-rich economy and society makes us more resilient to future challenges as well as bringing health and wellbeing benefits.  

 

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© Ahmad Aqel/GLF

Policy 2

Protect and restore carbon-rich habitats while phasing out harmful practices.

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Why?

Some of Scotland’s key habitats are natural carbon stores and climate allies, helping us soak up carbon and reduce our overall climate emissions 

With multiple benefits for air and water quality, nature and biodiversity, and our own wellbeing, enhancing nature-based industries also helps to boost rural jobs and tourism and supports skills development. 

How?

Restoring and expanding carbon-rich habitats, such as native woodlands, saltmarsh and seagrass meadows, provides natural climate solutions and homes to wildlife. In restored peatlands, for example, you can see flourishing new species, including iconic species like otters, badgers, dragonflies and skylarks. 

The Scottish Government’s recent investment in nature-based solutions, including a 10-year investment of £250m on peatland restoration, is welcome. But even greater action is needed to ensure that all of our peatlands are restored, with harmful activities such as burning and extraction stopped. In addition, we need equivalent long-term investment in other important habitats such as native woodlands, with an aim to invest £2bn in habitat restoration by 2030. 

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© Duncan Andison

Policy 3

Everyone in Scotland has access to a clean and healthy environment.

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Why?

During lockdown, did local greenspace become your lifeline, or did you suffer from a lack of outdoor space? 

As well as being one of the first defences against climate change, nature is central to our quality of life and our mental and physical wellbeing. But too often there is an inequality of access to nature.  

How?

Three quarters of people would like to see more greenspace available across Scotland. 

As we work towards nature recovery, a priority must be ensuring everyone in Scotland has access to a clean and healthy environment. 

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