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Safeguarding protected areas and species

​The law protects certain areas of Scotland and hundreds of our plant and animal species. We help to safeguard them.

​Scottish Natural Heritage has various roles in the designation, management and monitoring of Scotland’s protected areas for nature. Scottish Ministers and courts can make orders to compel essential conservation management where necessary.

Marine Protected Areas are used to protect certain features in our territorial and offshore waters. We also helped to compile Scotland’s list of priority marine features – 81 habitats and species of conservation importance.

SNH deals with species licensing for nearly all protected species in Scotland, and non-native species. This means that we can sometimes license certain actions that would otherwise be against the law.

Species reintroductions may help to restore and reinvigorate Scotland’s biodiversity – or they can inflict great damage. SNH is responsible for licensing the release or planting of non-native and former native species.

Wildlife crime is committed when people break the laws in place to safeguard protected areas and protected species. We work hard to prevent wildlife crime and enforce the law.