Protecting Scotland's Natural World

Why Is It Important?

written byHannah Kirkland - Conservation Biologist at Mossy Earth

Hannah Kirkland

Scotland's natural world is undeniably beautiful, with its rugged mountains, forested glens and crystal clear lochs. It's no surprise that many people consider Scotland to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world. That's just one of the reasons that Mossy Earth is passionate about protecting Scotland's environment.

Wild Habitats

The landscape of the British Isles has undergone centuries of use and misuse. Despite this, there are many reasons for  celebrating and protecting Scotland's natural world. Scotland is still home to rich, biodiverse and rare habitats. The Caledonian Pinewood is the UK's only native conifer forest and home to a diversity of wildlife and plant species, including the extremely rare twinflower. The Celtic Rainforest of Scotland's west coast is home to rare lichen communities, mosses and liverworts. Scotland also has a significant amount of the European (and world) resource of blanket peat bog, a rare habitat that covers much of the Highlands. With the longest coastline of the British Isles, Scotland has a unique opportunity to rewild ocean habitats as well.  

Pink bell-shaped flowers of twinflower in a carpet of green blaeberry
The Caledonian pinewood is home to the extremely rare twinflower

A Wildlife Refuge

Scotland is a refuge for species that are absent from England, Wales and Ireland and a stronghold for otherwise rare species. Capercaillie and wildcats have been entirely lost from the rest of the United Kingdom, but can still be found in small populations in Scotland. Rare species like the pine marten and red squirrel are thriving in the Caledonian pinewoods that carpet Scottish glens. These forests are also home to the Scottish crossbill, the UK's only endemic bird species. Restoring these vital habitats is vital to bring these species back from the brink and safeguard the future of the UK's iconic wildlife.

A Scottish wildcat rests in the green grass of its enclosure with a foreground of yellow flowers
A Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris) at the breeding facility at Alladale Wilderness Reserve

Reversing Climate Breakdown

With warming temperatures and extreme weather events more common than ever, Scotland offers an important opportunity to help combat the breakdown of the planet's climate. By planting trees and restoring forests, we can keep carbon stored in trees and out of our atmosphere. Peatland ecosystems are also a hugely efficient carbon sink. Though many peatlands have been actively dried out for exploitation, for example, to plant commercial conifer plantations, re-wetting this important ecosystem will help recapture huge amounts of carbon.

Pink heather blooms against a backdrop of yellow vegetation
Peatland ecosystems are one of the largest natural land-based carbon sinks

Reconnecting People with Nature

Protecting Scotland's natural world and creating a wilder Scotland doesn't mean removing people from the land. Thanks to the 'right to roam' law, Scotland's landscapes are accessible to everyone and they are enjoyed by an ever-increasing number of people. By restoring ecosystems to their full potential, we can all enjoy a wilder, richer and more vibrant natural world.

 

A person walks their dog along a trail. A rewilded Scotland can benefit people and planet
Rewilded landscape can benefit people and planet

Joining The Movement

Scotland is changing already, for the better. Large-scale habitat restoration and rewilding projects are underway, species that were eradicated decades ago are reclaiming former ground and more and more people are embracing the vision of a wilder Scotland. There is no better time to join the rewilding Scotland movement and that's why, with your support, Mossy Earth has set out on a mission to rewild Scotland.

 

A vibrant green valley covered in both young and tall trees. By rewilding Scotland, more empty hillsides and glens could look like this.

Sources & further reading

Peer Reviewed Research Section
  1. SCOTLAND: A Rewilding Journey - Scotland: The Big PictureExternal link
  2. Rewilding – A new paradigm for nature conservation in Scotland - Taylor & Francis OnlineExternal linkIcon Peer Review
  3. Scotland meets tree planting target for first time - BBC NewsExternal link
  4. Peatland ACTION case study: What's the connection between peat and carbon storage? - Scottish Natural HeritageExternal link
  5. Don’t be scared of bringing back wolves to Scotland, says expert - The ScotsmanExternal link
  6. 15 species that should be brought back to rewild Britain - The GuardianExternal link
  7. Rewilding Scotland - Mossy EarthExternal link
  8. Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding - George MonbiotExternal link

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