Loss of Biodiversity

All species eventually become extinct. However, the current rate of species extinctions is 100-1000 times greater than normal, due to human activities on earth. One of the biggest causes of species extinctions is the conversion of natural habitats to farmland which supports fewer species.

Most scientists believe that Scotland used to have a lot more forest than it does today. The clearing of Scotland's forests began around 4000 years ago, as people began farming. Lynx, wild cattle, brown bear, beavers, wild boar and wolves once roamed the Highlands. Although, loss of woodland was the main cause of the extinction of these animals in Scotland, these animals were also hunted.

Besides woodland, other types of habitat have become increasingly uncommon. Many areas that would have been fens, bogs and reedbeds have been drained. Loss of these habitats also reduces numbers of all the plants and animals that they support.

Biodiversity is still being lost in North East Scotland today. Even familar species like toads, hedgehogs and bumble bees are declining. However, there are things that we can do to help wildlife and make North East Scotland a nicer place to live in.

Landowners and farmers can apply for government funding to make their land more wildlife friendly.

People with gardens can make their garden a home for many different species by creating wildlife gardens.

For those without gardens even window boxes with butterfly and bee friendly plants make a worthwhile contribution.

Some products that are less damaging to wildlife than others e.g. organic produce that has been grown without using pesticides or herbicides means that there is a greater variety of plants and insects on an organic farm - See Organic farming boosts biodiversity article.

For more tips see Get involved

Other useful links:

International Union for Conservation of Nature

Trees for Life

This site is hosted by The James Hutton Institute
Craigiebuckler Aberdeen AB15 8QH Scotland
Invergowrie Dundee DD2 5DA Scotland | Content editor login

Address: North East Scotland Local Biodiversity Action Plan
c/o The James Hutton Institute
Craigiebuckler
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Telephone : 01224 395189

Enquiries: rose.toney@hutton.ac.uk