Frequently Asked Questions
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the variety of life. It concerns the whole range of living things, from flowering plants to birds, from butterflies to mosses and lichens and even bacteria. Biodiversity also refers to the wide range of habitats which plants and animals depend upon. It is not just about rare or threatened species, it embraces all life, from the commonplace to the greatly endangered.
Why is biodiversity important?
Protecting the variety of life around us is increasingly important, not just for the intrinsic worth of plants and animals themselves, but also for the needs of humankind. Biodiversity affects our quality of life aesthetically and spiritually, it boosts local economies, and across the earth, there are many species upon which we depend. Biodiversity provides some of the raw materials for our food and drink, medicines, fuel, clothing and buildings. In short, biodiversity ensures our survival. But biodiversity is disappearing at an alarming rate, both globally and in the UK. In the last hundred years at least 100 species have become extinct in Britain alone.
Is biodiversity threatened?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the world's oldest and largest global environmental network - last published the annual "Red List", a global report on the status of biodiversity in 2009. The statistics from this report state that 21 percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of all known amphibians, 12 percent of all known birds, 28 percent of reptiles, 37 percent of freshwater fishes, 70 percent of plants, and 35 percent of invertebrates assessed are under threat. And this is just the tip of the iceberg since the majority of species in the world have not yet been assessed and the threats to ecosystems and species are increasing daily.
What is being done in Scotland for biodiversity?
The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 5 May 2004 and came into effect in two stages, on 1 October 2004 and 29 November 2004. The new Act introduces a wide range of protection and enforcement measures to safeguard and enhance Scotland's natural heritage. This is the first major nature conservation legislation affecting Scotland in almost a quarter of a century and is the first nature conservation legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament. The Act places a duty on every public body to further the conservation of biodiversity consistent with the proper exercise of their functions. It requires Scottish Ministers to designate one or more strategies for the conservation of biodiversity as the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, and to publish lists of species of flora and fauna and habitats of principal importance.
The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy "It's in Your Hands", published in 2004, presented a 25 year vision and framework for action to protect Scotland's biodiversity. The Strategy aims to "conserve biodiversity for the health, enjoyment and well-being of the people of Scotland now and in the future."
What is being done locally for biodiversity?
A partnership has been formed covering the Tayside area to take action forward. The Tayside Biodiversity Partnership has published a set of action plans aimed at safeguarding and enhancing the local biodiversity. This Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) can be viewed at any Angus Council library or in the Biodiversity section of this website.
The Tayside Biodiversity Partnership have produced a number of documents, newsletters, leaflets, etc., and organises seminars and field days for interested parties. For more information, visit the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership website.
Who do I contact for further information?
Visit the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership website or contact:
Tayside Biodiversity Co-ordinator
Tayside Biodiversity Partnership
c/o Perth & Kinross Council
The Environment Service
35 Kinnoull Street
Perth PH1 5GD
Service Page: biodiversity.htm
Service Details Last Reviewed : 13 May 2013