Scotland’s wildlife: only 1% of species at risk

I’m not, under any circumstances, suggesting that our wildlife is not at risk or that more, much more, needs to be done. Even 1% is too many. My concern, as always, is on the politicising on such trends to attack and to distort the performance of Scotland and its government so as to make it seem no better than the UK in the approach to COP26.

Scotland is home to over 90 000 species. I appreciate that the Herald headline confuses and conflates wildlife (species) and habitats to come up with its 1 100 in ‘poor state’ but the point is made.

Two years ago, BBC Scotland tried something similar:

Appalling! The report does not make the above statement anywhere. The report states quite clearly at the beginning:

It is not appropriate to compare indicator trends between countries as data from different taxonomic groups have been used.

Fergal has done just that. Mendacious or stupid or both?

Looking more deeply into the report we find that you can meaningfully compare the figures for some species but that these are favourable to Scotland:

  • Trends do vary across the UK countries and generally farmland birds are faring better in Scotland, where on average they have increased since the 1990s.
  • Our State of Nature metrics show declines in moths and butterflies across the UK, although trends in Scotland are, on average, stable.
  • Declines have been most notable in breeding waders of lowland wet grassland such as Lapwing and Snipe, due to habitat loss. Outside Scotland, a large proportion of these species’ populations are now confined to sites managed as nature reserves.
  • UK woodland cover increased by 9% between 1998 and 2018 and is currently estimated at 3.17 million ha. Scotland has seen the largest area increase (156,000ha)
  • Pressure on Scotland’s diverse landscapes has resulted in biodiversity losses and gains. There is evidence that some wildlife has fared better in Scotland over recent decades than in the UK as a whole.

Has the Herald considered the above comparative data or something like it?

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6 thoughts on “Scotland’s wildlife: only 1% of species at risk

  1. As we have seen over the last two years there are far more of these misleading reports still to emerge about Scotland’s relationship with nature and our climate credentials. I suspect this is just the first salvo to yet again make us feel second rate citizens and undermine our self confidence. I guess we have to expect these ‘journalists’ have little or no integrity, decency or even fairness after all they likely believe they are fighting for their own survival. They are on a WAR footing but the evidence is building (thanks to you) and it will come back to bite them once Indy campaigning starts.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The reporters are eating animals ever day. Scotland is underpopulated because of Westminster policies. There are far more wildlife here than anywhere in the world. Open spaces. No more dinosaurs.

    The world population will peak and fall. Animals are bred to kill. Or for pets. 50% of the UK has a pet. How will they disappear. There are conservation schemes all over the world. Well supported. Often by hypocrites. Consuming more than their fair share. New species are discovered. Some poisonous ones are pretty lethal.

    The non Dom tax evading owners eat animals. More and more people are turning veggie. More animal free products. People are more and more aware and chose sustainable produce. Recycle and repair where possible.

    Major countries have contraception programmes. China had a ‘one child’ policy or there would be much more of them. 1.4Billion. It skewed the population balance more men than women. An imbalance. More countries are getting bette4 healthcare facilities. Absolute poverty is being decreased. Japan the most densely populated island in the world. 125million. Has the highest life expectancy. 85 years. Spain 84 years. Fish, vegetable and Mediterranean diet.


  3. The age old propaganda at its ‘best ‘ to ensure that Scots do not think they are doing better than the UK . We must be brought down to their level .
    ‘Levelling Down’ as Johnson hasn’t said – yet !

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I lived though periods where the wanton destruction of wildlife were secondary to profit, Myxomatosis, DDT, hedgerows destroyed to enable more efficient mechanisation, thousands of acres of land sterilised by monocultural sitka-spruce.
    And yet a few brave souls despite “progress” attempted to recover the decimated osprey population, in face of hostile resistance from well-heeled landowners but considerable public support, gave hope all was not lost to the mighty $.

    I have neither read the Herald article nor frankly have any desire to do so given their self evident distortion for political ends previously, and a “city” lad pronouncing on what is best for nature is not even close to the end of the queue in the credibility stakes.

    Yes we have much to do, but beyond unshackling ourselves from London control I don’t believe we’ve got a scottish wildcat’s hope in hell of returning natural balance to our lands, and we’re going to have the biggest fight on our hands with owners of vast estates once we do.
    BUT, then WE are in control, that more than anything makes recovery possible.


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