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Ramsar Convention

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) is an intergovernmental treaty that aims to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future.

It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.

The Scottish Government has designated 51 Ramsar sites in Scotland, covering 326,719 hectares.


Questions and Answers

Q. What is Scotland 's contribution to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands?

A. There are 51 Ramsar sites within Scotland. Their locations span an area from the Shetland Isles to the Solway Firth and together they constitute around four percent of Scotland's land area. While the majority of Ramsar sites in Scotland are important for birds, some are also important for aquatic plants, invertebrates and mammals, including seals and otters, or else are prime examples of important habitats, such as bogs and mires, salt marshes and dunes.

Q. How are Ramsar sites protected in Scotland?

A. All Ramsar sites in Scotland are also either co-designated as either Natura 2000 sites and/or Sites of Special Scientific Interest and are protected under the relevant statutory regimes.  It is Scottish Government policy to apply the same level of protection for Ramsar sites as if they were classified as SPAs.

Q. The Ramsar Convention was signed in 1971, how relevant is it in the 21st century?

A. The Ramsar Strategic Plan (2003-08) was undertaken to continue wetland conservation and promote sustainable development worldwide. It aims in particular to address global issues including poverty eradication, food and water security, integrated approaches to water management, climate change and its predicted impacts, increasing globalisation of trade and international development.