The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee met earlier this week to take evidence from GWCT, RSPB, MCS, SWT, RBG, Tayside Biodiversity Partnership and the Forest Policy Group on progress made towards Scotland’s progress to 2020. The session considered the findings of a number of recent publications: the SNH Report on the first full year reporting on the Route Map to 2020; Scotland’s Biodiversity Progress to 2020 Aichi Targets, the State of Nature Report 2016 and associated State of Nature Scotland Report.
It was fully recognised that whilst there have been impressive conservation success stories, there remains significant challenges to delivering on the 2020 Aichi targets. It was acknowledged that in order to meet some of the remaining targets an increased focus was needed towards supporting land managers to facilitate their own initiatives and advice on how to improve best practice.
Particular importance was given to delivering landscape scale conservation. By managing larger areas and integrating biodiversity conservation across sectors and organisations, the ability to protect and enhance more species is achievable. Schemes such as Wildlife Estates Scotland, GWCT Partridge Monitoring scheme and RSPB Futurescapes Initiative provide an opportunity to develop a National Ecological Network providing coherence and a large-scale integrated approach to conservation.
The integral role funding for environmental initiatives from the EU play in helping to conserve, enhance and protect our natural environment was fully recognised as too was the need to ensure that this or successor funding is protected in order to safeguard the future delivery of biodiversity.