Climate change: Impacts on landscapes

Climate change is likely to alter Scotland’s landscapes – and the social and economic benefits that landscape provides.

Landscape changes will result from climate change impacts on:

  • soils and vegetation
  • farming and forestry
  • rivers and coasts
  • hills and lowlands
  • buildings

Understanding the likely effects of climate change will help us to plan for and manage the changes.

Research into impacts on Scotland’s landscapes

Our research indicates that:

  • climate change will result in extensive landscape change across Scotland
  • the greatest changes are likely to be in lowland and coastal areas, where human population is highest
  • mitigation and adaptation measures are likely to influence Scotland’s landscapes and quality of life more than the direct effects of climate change
  • future socio-economic values that govern human responses to climate change could significantly modify these effects
  • for positive landscape and quality of life outcomes, it’s important to adopt a holistic approach to managing climate change

Climate Change Conversations project

Our research revealed that landscape change was a good topic to open up discussions about climate change with local communities.

We set up the Climate Change Conversations project to explore this option further. The project ran in the Machars and in Nairn in 2010.

Climate change conversations: NatureScot Commissioned Report No. 492

We drew on the lessons learned to develop the Talking About Our Place toolkit for communities.

Find out more

An assessment of the impacts of climate change on Scottish landscapes and their contribution to quality of life: NatureScot Commissioned Report No. 488

A Summary of the effects of climate change on landscape and quality of life in Scotland


Get in touch if you have questions. 

Landscape Group

[email protected]

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