This week, Sir David Attenborough, the President Emeritus of The Wildlife Trusts, has called for urgent action to create and connect wild places across Scotland.
Nature is our life-support system. We rely on it for clean air and water, food, recreation, regulation of our climate, protection from extreme weather and much more.
Many of Scotland’s industries, including agriculture, whisky and tourism trade on Scotland’s reputation as a nation with a healthy natural environment.
Sadly, as the recent State of Nature report shows, nature is under unprecedented threat. It needs our help to recover.
The State of Nature report reveals that nearly half of Scotland’s species have declined in the last 25 years, and one in nine is threatened with extinction.
Despite some success stories, such as the reintroduction of the beaver and increases in woodland birds, the overall picture is one of widespread decline. Threats including climate change, non-native invasive species and unsustainable land management are taking their toll.
To turn the tide and help nature recover, urgent investment is required. We need to create new networks of woodlands and wildflower meadows, we need to make our towns and cities greener, and we need to transform our relationship with the natural world.
To make this recovery work, we will also need to take a strategic approach, through a Scotland-wide ecological network which links up important habitats in both urban and rural areas.
This approach would give wildlife greater space to move around and adapt to threats, and help us transform fragmented islands of nature into a connected network of wildlife-rich landscapes.
The Scottish Government, through the Infrastructure Commission, has recently begun to develop a 30-year strategy for Scotland’s communications and transport networks. A similar long-term approach is needed for our natural infrastructure..
As Sir David points out, nature is capable of extraordinary recovery, but we must act now to save it.
Find out more about the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Nature's Emergency Service campaign at scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/emergency
Jo Pike is chief executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust