Biodiversity strategy to 2045: tackling the nature emergency - draft

This draft biodiversity strategy sets out our clear ambition for Scotland to be Nature Positive by 2030, and to have restored and regenerated biodiversity across the country by 2045.

Executive Summary

The Global Climate Emergency and the Nature Emergency are twin reinforcing crises: the actions we take to address each are fundamental to our wellbeing and survival as a species. There is now an indisputable body of evidence that biodiversity, both globally and in Scotland, is in real trouble. Our efforts to address the crisis to date have generated some lessons and local successes, but we urgently need to accelerate and scale up those efforts to drive landscape and seascape scale recovery.

This strategy sets out a clear ambition: for Scotland to be Nature Positive by 2030, and to have restored and regenerated biodiversity across the country by 2045. Our vision is:

  • By 2045, Scotland will have restored and regenerated biodiversity across our land, freshwater and seas.
  • Our natural environment, our habitats, ecosystems and species, will be diverse, thriving, resilient and adapting to climate change.
  • Regenerated biodiversity will drive a sustainable economy and support thriving communities, and people will play their part in the stewardship of nature for future generations.

To deliver the Vision, we have identified a detailed set of Outcomes which help us to define and understand what success will look like by 2045:

  • Across our land and seascapes
  • On land
  • In rivers, lochs and wetlands
  • In marine and coastal environments

These Outcomes will be achieved through detailed actions set out in Delivery Plans.

This Strategy contains 26 of the most urgent Priority Actions which will put us on track for being halting the loss of biodiversity and being nature positive by 2030. These actions will:

1. Accelerate restoration and regeneration

2. Expand and connect protected areas and improve their condition

3. Support nature-friendly farming, fishing and forestry

4. Recover and protect vulnerable and important species and

5. Generate the investment needed to support nature recovery

We will ensure that our ambitious Vision, Outcomes and Priority Actions are successfully delivered by putting in place a Strategic Delivery Framework to provide the enabling conditions for success. The framework comprises:

  • This Strategy, which sets out our high-level Vision and Outcomes
  • A Natural Environment Bill to put in place Statutory Targets for nature restoration
  • Delivery Plans to be reviewed every five years which set out detailed actions we will take
  • An Investment Plan to set out the cost of these actions and drive investment in their delivery
  • A monitoring and reporting framework so we can monitor the effectiveness of our actions

Priority Actions For 2030

1. Accelerate restoration and regeneration

Introduce statutory nature restoration Targets

Introduce a programme of ecosystem restoration

Continue to drive down and deliver substantially reduced deer densities across our landscapes

Take further action to ensure sustainable management of grazing by sheep is compatible with the reduction in deer impacts, so that ecosystem health as a whole improves

Implement Scottish Plan for INNS surveillance, prevention and control, and secure wider support measures to enable effective INNS removal.

Ensure grouse-moor management sustains healthy biodiversity

Develop a policy and investment framework for restoring Scotland’s Atlantic Rainforest

Improve resilience in coastal and marine systems by reducing key pressures

Increase and safeguard space for coastal habitat change

These Actions support our efforts to meet CBD Goal A and Targets 2, 6 and 9[1]

2. Expand and connect protected areas and improve their condition

Expand our Protected Areas to at least 30% of the land and seas

Ensure we secure positive effects for biodiversity from our National Planning Framework (NPF4)

Ensure that every local authority area has a nature network improving ecological connectivity across Scotland

Increase the number of sites in Scotland’s Marine Protected Area network with specific fisheries management measures, and designate at least 10% of Scotland’s seas as Highly Protected Marine Areas

Introduce at least one new National Park

Realise the potential of National Nature Reserves as key assets for increasing ecological connectivity

These Actions support our efforts to meet CBD Goal A and Targets 1, 2, and 3

3. Nature-friendly farming, fishing and forestry

Ensure increased uptake of high diversity, nature-rich, high soil-carbon, low intensity farming methods while sustaining high quality food production

Introduce an agricultural future support framework which delivers for nature restoration and biodiversity, as well as high quality food production

Shift half of all funding for farming and crofting from unconditional to conditional support by 2025, with targeted outcomes for biodiversity

Ensure that productive forests and woodlands deliver increased biodiversity and habitat connectivity as well as timber production

Implement further fisheries measures in vulnerable marine ecosystems and Priority Marine Features outside of MPAs

Implement an ecosystem approach to management of sea fisheries, based on the best available scientific advice, and minimising adverse impacts on non-target species and habitats

These Actions support our efforts to meet CBD Goal A and Targets 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6

4. Recover and protect vulnerable and important species

Continue effective species recovery, reintroduction and reinforcement programmes

Manage existing and emerging pressures to improve the conservation status of seabirds

Respond to pressures facing marine mammals to maintain or improve their conservation status

Implement measures to protect and recover Scotland’s wild Atlantic salmon and migratory fish populations

Revise the Scottish Biodiversity List of species and habitats that Scottish Ministers consider to be of principal importance for biodiversity conservation in Scotland

Support surveillance and monitoring to support managing risks around pathogens and disease in wild bird populations

These Actions support our efforts to meet CBD Goal A and Target 4

5. Invest in nature

Maintain and seek to increase investment in nature restoration through our £65 million Nature Restoration Fund

Develop a Biodiversity Investment Plan to direct how we address the Finance Gap for nature

Establish a values-led, high-integrity market for responsible private investment in natural capital, supported by a national project pipeline for nature-based solutions

Provide direction on, and investment in, green skills and local economic opportunities supporting nature-based education, skills and volunteering

Increase investment in Scotland’s Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund and the benefits delivered to Scotland’s coasts and seas

Continue to develop and enhance the woodland and peatland carbon codes to attract and assist additional investment and develop other codes where appropriate

These Actions support our efforts to meet CBD Goal D and Target 19


This strategy was updated and published in September 2023. Read the updated version of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy to 2045.


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