Transformative change for nature is vital, but it is also possible. RSPB Scotland has teamed up with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and WWF Scotland to produce a Nature Recovery plan, out today. Isobel Mercer, Senior Policy Officer, tells us more.

A Nature Recovery Plan for Scotland

We have joined forces with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and WWF Scotland, to launch a major new report, out today, setting out 11 transformative actions for nature’s recovery. These actions would also help to build a more healthy and resilient nation, supporting diverse, vibrant communities and economies.

The past few months have not been easy. We have faced enormous unanticipated disruption and tragedy from the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown. The impacts have not been shared equally and everyone has faced unique challenges.

Nature has been one defining factor in people’s individual experiences. Many people have been turning to nature in their local areas, opening their senses for joy and inspiration, solace and wellbeing. For many others, a lack of access to nature-rich, quality greenspace has intensified the strain of lockdown and made inequalities more deeply felt.

otter amongst reeds

But lockdown has also allowed us to re-imagine the world, and question different aspects of our lives: where we go to work, how we get there, where we do our shopping and source our food, how well we know our neighbours.

We can learn from these collective experiences. We can re-imagine and revitalise the way the people of Scotland interact with nature, allowing it to play new and transformative roles in our lives.

Long before the Covid-19 pandemic nature was in trouble. Heightened concern about the nature and climate emergency has risen rapidly, and awareness of the urgent need for action has crystallised across society. Here in Scotland last year’s State of Nature in Scotland Report found that 49% of our species have declined, and one in nine is threatened with national extinction.

golden plover on ground

At the same time, it has become abundantly clear that restoring nature can also be the solution to multiple other challenges. The pandemic and lockdown have demonstrated that challenging the status quo and achieving major change are possible, but the speed and scale of disruption has also shown that systemic change for nature and climate must be done in a planned way, that is fair and equitable for all.

Our Nature Recovery Plan sets out 11 high-impact actions that would set Scotland on the pathway to delivering transformative change for nature, people and climate:

  1. Expand Scotland’s native woodlands
  2. Ensure sustainable, low-impact fishing
  3. License driven grouse shooting
  4. Manage deer populations effectively
  5. Make new developments net positive for nature
  6. Link wild places through a Scottish Nature Network
  7. End peatland burning and its extraction for horticulture
  8. Improve use of nitrogen fertilisers
  9. Stop the spread of Invasive Non-Native Species
  10. Support nature- and climate-friendly farming
  11. Protect Scotland’s seas

Several of the areas highlighted by the plan should be prioritised for investment by the Scottish Government as part of a green recovery, to create nature-based jobs, contribute to local economies and deliver wider benefits for people: in particular restoring Scotland’s peatlands, expanding and restoring native woodlands, tackling deer management and delivering a Scottish Nature Network.

Transformative change for nature is possible and is within our grasp. Over the coming months we will be reaching out to tell you how you can help us secure the actions set out in this plan, and help us to shape and achieve a vision for a better and fairer future, where nature is thriving across Scotland.

One action you can take now is to sign up to our #ReviveOurWorld campaign. We’re calling on Governments to introduce stronger laws for nature and to help us build the world we want to live in. Join us here:

You can download the full Nature Recovery Plan here: 

Nature Recovery Plan.pdf
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