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National Indicator: Protected Nature Sites

  Improve the condition of protected nature sites

Indicator Measure
Proportion of protected nature sites which are in satisfactory condition; or are recovering, with the necessary management measures in place

Current Status
By March 2017, 80.3% of natural features on protected nature sites were assessed as being in favourable condition. This figure represents a decrease of 0.1 percentage points from 2016 and an increase of 4.3 percentage points from 76.0% in 2007.

Nature Sites - Graph

Source: "The Proportion of Scotland's Protected Sites in Favourable Condition" (Scottish Natural Heritage)
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 12 May 2017
Next Update: May 2018

Improve the condition of protected nature sites

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Natura 2000 sites and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) represent the best of Scotland's natural heritage. These areas are 'special' either for their plants, animals or habitats, their rocks or landforms, or a combination of these. Together they form a network of the best natural features throughout Scotland and support a wider network across Great Britain and the European Union.

Over 380 Natura 2000 sites and over 1,450 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), covering more than 1,000,000 hectare of Scotland, have been designated for their national or international importance, according to their special biodiversity or geodiversity interest. In this indicator, the term habitat includes geological features. The sites extend the length and breadth of Scotland, from the moss heaths on the highest summit, Ben Nevis, through lowland species-rich grasslands and raised bogs, to the seas around Scotland, such as the marine reefs of Loch Maddy in the Western Isles.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Perhaps the biggest influence lies in the actions of the responsible bodies, land owners and users of individual sites. Many sites need specific actions to bring them into favourable condition - and some of these actions are complex to achieve. Wider developments, for example climate change, can also influence the condition of individual sites and perhaps even make them unsuitable for the original purpose of designation.

What is the Government's role?

Scottish Natural Heritage has the main responsibility for delivering this National Indicator. A significant contribution will also come from Forestry Commission Scotland. These bodies set priorities and direction, and provide financial support to land owners and others to secure improvement in the condition of habitat features and for priority species. Some of this support will be delivered through Rural Development Contracts under the Scotland Rural Development Programme. The Scottish Government and other bodies with responsibilities in Scotland's marine environment also play an important role. All public bodies have a statutory duty to further biodiversity conservation as they undertake their functions and responsibilities. Co-ordinated action can also be secured locally through Local Biodiversity Action Plans.

How is Scotland performing?

By the end of March 2017, 80.3% of natural features were assessed as being in a favourable condition, 0.1 percentage points lower than recorded in March 2016 and 4.3 percentage points higher than recorded in 2007.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any difference in the percentage within +/- 1 percentage point of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1 percentage point or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1 percentage point or more suggests the position is worsening.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Fisheries Research Services

Forestry Commission Scotland

Scottish Natural Heritage

Related Strategic Objectives

Wealthier and Fairer

Healthier

Greener

View National Indicator Data

Downloadable document:

Title:Improve the condition of protected nature sites
Description:Improve the condition of protected nature sites
File:Nature Sites [XLS, 527.4 kb: 09 May 2017]
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