30x30 and Nature Networks Projects Launch

27 June 2022

First steps of vital nature project features Minister for Biodiversity and other leading voices.

NatureScot will this week host the first event in a year-long collaborative project, looking at new ways to restore and connect Scotland’s ecosystems. 

Tomorrow (Tuesday 28th June) will see the important first steps of the 30x30 and Nature Networks Projects. These will bring together all interested parties to explore collaboratively designed solutions to the targets set out by the Scottish Government to protect at least 30% of Scotland’s land for nature by 2030 (30x30) and connecting Scotland’s nature-rich areas through Nature Networks. 

The 30x30 and Nature Networks Projects opening webinar is part of a year-long calendar of events, which will inform the delivery of the Scottish Government’s Biodiversity Strategy. The event will feature the Minister for Biodiversity, Lorna Slater MSP, as well as speakers from Scottish Environment LINK; Scottish Land & Estates; Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforests, and Nature Friendly Farming Network. 

Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to tackling the twin crises of climate change and nature loss. Already over 17% of Scotland is protected specifically for nature - but we know we can and must do more to prevent the continuing decline in biodiversity.

“To do this effectively will require a co-ordinated effort across private, voluntary and public sectors, delivered through our ambitious new biodiversity strategy - which aims to halt the loss of nature by 2030, and reverse it by 2045

“There is no doubt that nature networks and areas protected and managed for nature will play a key part in delivering these ambitions. Today marks an important step in our working together to achieve this vision.”

Ben Ross, NatureScot’s Head of Protected Areas, Innovation and Data, said: 

“With the urgent climate and nature crises we face today, it’s vital that we all work together to find solutions to connect and improve habitats in Scotland. We’re excited to begin this work together with the many people who care about Scotland’s amazing nature. We look forward to co-developing many bold solutions to support nature restoration across the country, adding to the great work going on currently.” 

Species on land have declined by 31% and at sea by 36% in Scotland since 1994, and 11% of our species are at risk due to changes in our climate, our use of the land and sea, pollution and invasive non-native species. The way Scotland currently uses and manages its land contributes more than 30% of our carbon emissions.  

The 30x30 and Nature Networks Projects present an opportunity for transformative change in our approach to area-based conservation. This will keep protected areas at the heart of conservation, and support work to address drivers of biodiversity loss at a larger scale such as reducing deer numbers or tackling invasive non-native species. 

Through Nature Networks there is an opportunity to not only better connect nature-rich sites across Scotland, creating more resilient ecosystems and halting biodiversity loss, but also enhance people’s connection and accessibility to nature wherever they live. The connections between how the country’s land and freshwater life is managed will shape the future of Scotland’s approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of our natural capital, and NatureScot is leading the action required to halt the current biodiversity loss. 

These two projects are key to creating climate-resilient landscapes that are nature-rich, highly connected and deliver multiple benefits for people and the economy, from nature-based jobs, to flood alleviation and sustainable farming.