Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth, and is essential for sustaining the ecosystems that provide us with food, fuel, health, wealth, and other vital services.

We set policies for protected nature sites that help preserve terrestrial and marine habitats and the animals that are supported by them. 


We are supporting biodiversity by:


Our biodiversity policy is underpinned by the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity.

We aim to protect and restore biodiversity, support healthy ecosystems, connect people with the natural world, and maximise the benefits of a diverse natural environment and the services it provides, contributing to sustainable economic growth in Scotland.

To do this we must tackle key pressures on biodiversity, including climate change, invasive non-native species and habitat fragmentation.

We work closely with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to meet our biodiversity goals.

Protected nature sites

We set policies for protected nature sites that help preserve terrestrial and marine habitats and the animals that are supported by them.

Protected nature sites include:

SNH hosts a list of all protected areas in Scotland.

Scotland’s protected areas network is considered largely complete, although it’s likely some additional sites will require consideration in order to implement the UK’s SPA review of 2018.

The Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) provides support for a range of incentive-based management activities tailored to the needs of designated sites in Scotland, to ensure they are managed appropriately. Appropriate management can be compelled under statute if necessary. 

International conventions

Scotland has signed up to a number of international conventions relating to the conservation of our environment, which are known as Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).

Examples include the protection of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar Convention) and the protection of species and habitats of European importance (BERN Convention).

Another of our significant international obligations is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). At the Convention, 20 global Aichi targets were set to be achieved by 2020, which will help us to focus on creating a greater variety of life within Scotland.

Bills and legislation

As there are many different human activities which can impact on biodiversity, there are many other pieces of legislation relevant to the topic. The following list includes some key examples, but is not exhaustive.



Biodiversity Policy
Scottish Government
Area 3-G South
Victoria Quay