Nature Networks Tool
As part of the work on Nature Networks, NatureScot and Scottish Wildlife Trust are co-sponsoring a Challenge in CivTech 8 which looks to address “How can technology help to create a nature network across all of the different areas of Scotland?” .
How can technology help to create a nature network across all of the different areas of Scotland? CivTech 8 Challenge – NatureScot, Scottish Wildlife Trust, AECOM
The challenge posed was “How can technology help to create a nature network across all of the different areas of Scotland?” and recognised the difficulty in achieving increased connectivity between Scotland’s important places for nature and towns and cities. Full details of the challenge, the process, and AECOM’s proposed solution can be found here.
We are excited to now be working our way through the core development stage of the tool. This will see NatureScot, Scottish Wildlife Trust and AECOM working with key delivery partners, particularly local authorities, to ensure the design and the development of this tool helps to roll out effective Nature Networks nationwide using a local, place-based approach.
EcoUplift - is a web hosted tool used to generate rapid, high-level terrestrial biodiversity and natural capital accounts in the UK.
Wildlife Connectivity Maps - analyse the current state of functional habitat connectivity across Scotland. This is achieved by analysing the willingness of multiple species groups to move through the landscape in its current state.
Nature Network Corridors - identify potential ways of connecting all of Scotland’s 30x30 sites while considering various 'attractors' and 'detractors'.
Opportunity Maps - use the Wildlife Connectivity Maps and a long list of weighted datasets (attractors and detractors) to identify the best places in Scotland to undertake nature recovery projects that contribute to Nature Networks.
Nature Project Optimiser - will enable users to configure a range of parameters, including habitat type, location, budget, and policy or funding alignment, to identify suitable nature-based projects based on their specific objectives e.g., carbon sequestration, biodiversity, or flood regulation.
Nature Project Hub - will be a set of features that aim to improve visibility of and collaboration between nature recovery projects.
There is no obligation to use this product when developing Nature Networks but it is expected to become a key tool within the developing Nature Networks toolbox. As such, over the next couple of years Local Authorities will be offered support by Aecom, and the sponsor organisations NatureScot and Scottish Wildlife Trust, to use the tool to support their ambitions in spatially defining Nature Networks in their area.
The proposed timeline of works is;
Oct ’23 – Jan ‘24: Initial work with five Local Authorities (Fife, Dundee, Angus, Highlands and Orkney) to continue to explore needs and develop a process for local authorities to identify their current connectivity and opportunities for the future taking into account their local needs.
Jan ’24 – Apr ‘24: Expand the offer to work with remaining Local Authorities, and other partners, to scale up the connectivity and opportunities map to the whole of Scotland
Apr ‘24 – Jul ‘24: Develop the Nature Project Optimiser, a decision-support tool that will guide users through their land-use planning, investment, and nature recovery decisions
Jul ’24 – Oct ‘24: Connectivity simulations and nature project hub development
Oct’24 – Oct ’25: Continued free access and support for Local Authority users
There is currently an offer out to all Local Authorities to engage with AECOM to input into the Nature Network Corridors and Opportunity Maps.
Further updates about the project and tool development will be posted on these pages alongside information on any related events. You can also contact [email protected] if you have specific questions.