18 May, 2018
Statistical News Release: The Proportion of Scotland's Protected Sites in Favourable and recovering Condition 2018
An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland
18 May 2018 – Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has today released the latest figures tracking the proportion of Scottish natural features in favourable or recovering condition.
The main findings show that 79.7% of Scotland’s natural features on protected nature sites are either in or recovering towards a favourable condition. This figure represents a 3.7 percentage point increase since the current protocols were established in 2007, despite a 0.6 percentage point decrease since last year.
The report draws on annual monitoring of the condition natural features carried out by SNH and includes 5,295 natural feature assessments from across Scotland, divided into three categories: habitats (79.3% in favourable condition), species (74.6%) and earth sciences, which includes geographical outcrops and landforms, fossil beds, and caves (97.9%).
Overall, the condition of 72 features has improved to favourable or recovering condition. This demonstrates effective targeted remedial management by SNH, its partners, and private landowners at certain heath, grasslands, and upland feature types, including work to restore upland habitats at Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain.
Other findings of note from the report include:
- 3 features were assessed for the first time and found to be in favourable condition: one butterfly, one invertebrate assemblage, and one earth science feature.
- Heath habitats saw a 2.3% increase in features in favourable condition, the largest increase overall, followed by grasslands at 1.8%.
- The feature types with the highest proportion in favourable condition were dragonflies (100%), marine habitats (98.1%), and earth science (97.9%)
- Marine mammals had the lowest proportion of features in favourable condition, 57.1%, which remained stable since last year.
Invasive species are the main challenge to improving condition from unfavourable to favourable, representing 21.1% of all negative pressures. This category includes both native species such as bracken or nettles, and non-native species such as rhododendron or Japanese knotweed.
 A difference of less than +/-1 percentage point from last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change.
- Carrie Wieteska
Notes to editors
Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at www.nature.scot. SNH is also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nature_scot
Scottish Natural Heritage’s Site Condition Monitoring programme began in 2005 to examine the condition and status of over 5,000 natural features on protected natural sites in Scotland. All features are considered to be important at the national (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), European (Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area) and international (Ramsar) levels. Research is carried out by SNH staff and specialist contractors.
The full statistical publication can be accessed at: https://www.nature.scot/information-library-data-and-research/official-statistics/official-statistics-protected-sites
Official statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics (http://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html).
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