Scottish land managers are among the sectors praised for making progress in meeting international nature targets.
In a statement to mark International Biodiversity Day, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said Scotland was leading the way with work to protect and increase biodiversity.
“It is fantastic to see we are on track to meet our 2020 targets and our partnership working is delivering real benefits with improvements to our marine environment, peatlands, rivers and woodlands over the last few years,” she said.
“As the target date of 2020 draws closer it’s crucial that public, private, third sector and individuals all continue to work as hard as we can to protect and enhance nature, as biodiversity underpins our productivity, prosperity and health and wellbeing.”
The positive results are revealed in a Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) report: Scotland’s Biodiversity Progress to 2020 Aichi Targets.
It shows the nation is on track to meet seven of the targets, with a further 12 needing further action to reduce key pressures on nature arising from pollution, land-use change, the spread of invasive species and climate change.
SNH chairman Mike Cantlay welcomed the findings but said there was no room for complacency.
“It is not the sole responsibility of a single sector or industry to tackle biodiversity loss,” he said.
“With 2020 fast approaching, now is the time for a ‘natural’ conversation on Scotland’s future and how we meet – and even exceed – these ambitious targets for nature. It’s great to see progress being made, but more action is required.
“We can’t reverse climate change but, working together, we can protect our country’s incredible natural resources for future generations.”
The report encompasses work undertaken by business and land managers, local authorities, environmental NGOs, community groups and schools, the fishing industry and the government.
It shows biodiversity awareness in Scotland is measured at around 65% and work is under way by many organisations to improve on this figure. It also demonstrates that efforts have been made to restore some of Scotland’s most threatened habitats, including peatlands, rivers, and woodland.
Countries are dealing with species declining 1,000 times faster than expected in normal ecological conditions.