Scope of Environmental Monitoring
Environmental monitoring in Scotland should cover the pressures on the environment and the impact of these pressures upon receptors (the environment and society). Figure A1 in the supporting documentation lists the most important pressures and receptors which should be included in the monitoring of Scotland's environment.
In designing a monitoring programme the following pressures should be considered:
- Chemical and physical pressures including the release into the environment of pollutants (such as nutrients, hazardous substances and odour) together with litter and artificial sources of light, noise and vibration
- hydrological pressures including abstractions, impoundments and discharges
- physical/morphological pressures including ploughing, straightening rivers, drainage, sealing and erosion (caused, for example, by unsustainable land management practices)
- biological pressures including animal and plant disease, invasive non-native species and unsustainable use of biological resources (such as commercial fishing in the marine environment)
Monitoring these pressures will allow Scotland to understand environmental change and trends in pressures and aid forecasting of future environmental change.
Monitoring changes in the environment and impacts upon society
The receptors have been divided into three categories.
- State of the environment includes changes in the condition of air, land and water and the ecological consequences of these changes. This includes those parts of the environment that have a high value such as designated habitats and species
- Ecosystem services such as landscape, pollination and water supply
- Socio-economic consequences, social attributes such as the historic environment and human health and wellbeing
Monitoring environmental receptors will allow the changes in state of the environment to be described. Supporting information on the socio-economic consequences of environmental change is needed to understand the wider significance of these changes.
Improving the understanding of how ecosystem services are affected by environmental change is a key priority of the review of monitoring. An initial selection of provisioning, servicing and cultural services have been included within Figure A1 in the supporting documentation. This area of work will progressively expand as monitoring tools appropriate for additional ecosystem services are developed.
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