Scottish Biodiversity List

Discover which species and habitats in Scotland are considered of most importance for biodiversity conservation.

The Scottish Biodiversity List is a list of animals, plants and habitats that Scottish Ministers consider to be of principal importance for biodiversity conservation in Scotland.

By identifying the species and habitats that are of the highest priority for biodiversity conservation, the list helps public bodies carry out their biodiversity duty, but it is a useful resource for anyone interested in nature conservation in Scotland.

Find out more about what you can do to help the species and habitats on this list.

Categories for action

The Scottish Biodiversity List has been categorised to make it easier to understand and work with. The categories for action relate to the different types of activities that public bodies can carry out to meet their biodiversity duty. A species or habitat can be classified in more than one category.

The categories are based on the Scottish Biodiversity List selection criteria. Each of the categories for action is explained below.

Conservation action needed

The habitats and species in this category are those that are in most urgent need of conservation action. Some will benefit from conservation measures taken at the ecosystem level, some require active habitat management and a few require specific management.

These habitats and species are either:

  • in significant decline in Scotland – often this decline is linked to land-use change and habitat fragmentation
  • rare or have a restricted distribution and are under threat – these are often protected species and habitats, but occasionally rare species occur without specific protection and consideration should be given to raising their profile within the local planning process by giving their sites local designations.

What can you do?

Avoid negative impacts

Particular consideration needs to be given to avoiding significant negative impacts on these habitats and species.

The habitats and species in this category are:

  • under international obligations, that is, are protected species and habitats
  • rare or have a restricted distribution
  • in significant decline in Scotland.

What can you do?

Watching brief only

There is less concern for these habitats and species, which require only monitoring for now. Monitoring their status relies mainly on volunteer recorders.

These habitats and species are either:

What can you do?

Communicating with the public

This category is made up of the non-domestic species and habitats that are most important to the Scottish public.

  • Method – members of the general public were asked which species and habitats were important to them as part of the Scottish Opinion Survey in 2005.
  • Definition – importance was defined as ‘important for any reasons including for conservation, for their own personal enjoyment, as economically important (e.g. fishing), simply their favourite, as symbols of Scottish identity or just that they are nice to see’.
  • Results – the results of this survey were used to produce the top 10’ list of animals, plants and habitats. This list is made up of iconic animals, plants and habitats that the Scottish public can readily identify.
  • Purpose – the list is mainly for communications purposes. These species and habitats can be used to inspire and engage the public and make them more receptive to biodiversity conservation messages.
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