Species on the Edge - About the project

Scotland’s coast and islands are amongst the most biodiverse areas in the UK. They provide a last refuge for some of our most beautiful and unusual, but also most vulnerable, species. Many are in decline and some are on the cusp of extinction.

Panoramic view of mudflats at low tide, Kyle of Tongue

Who we are

Species on the Edge is a partnership of NatureScot and seven nature conservation charities, all dedicated to improving the fortunes of 37 priority species found along Scotland's coast and islands.

Our Vision

We will work with local communities in some of Scotland’s most remote areas to establish projects that provide a vital lifeline for our most nationally and internationally vulnerable coastal and island wildlife. Working together with local communities we aim to:

  • secure and improve the future for coastal and island species in Scotland;
  • form a support network between communities, to safeguard vulnerable biodiversity;
  • strengthen the partnership approach to conservation work in Scotland; and
  • raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity to Scotland.
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Infographic - Priorities for Species on the Edge, identifying project areas, partnership working and species recovery targets.

Our Funding

The National Lottery Heritage Fund confirmed over £4m of funding for the programme in June 2022 (total programme cost of over £6.5m).  We will be delivering a four and a half year programme of work to tackle the impacts of environmental change on wildlife, to benefit both nature and people.

Drawing on the knowledge and experience within the partnership, we have identified seven landscape-scale areas around Scotland’s coast and islands where collaboration will provide the greatest benefits. Action in these areas will include:

  • survey and collation of conservation data to provide a better understanding of the issues;
  • working with communities to identify priorities and co-produce local plans;
  • enhancing habitat quality and availability;
  • sowing and growing vital host and food plants for vulnerable species;
  • excluding predators from sensitive sites;
  • removing invasive non-native species;
  • providing advice to landowners and local communities on management for biodiversity;
  • providing new volunteering and supporting opportunities for a range of participants;
  • creating opportunities for people to develop new skills;
  • developing and supporting community and creative culture events.
Colourful machair on the Lewis coast.
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Only in the north-west of Scotland and Ireland do you find the ideal mix of features required for machair to thrive. Some rare species live in machair - the corncrake’s cry is still common, and you might spot a corn bunting. Machair is also the favoured habitat of the great yellow bumblebee.