“The use by man of the land and water of Sutherland will be guided by
that our grandchildren shall inherit a better countryside than we possess
Key biodiversity objectives
Ensure that all
habitats are managed in a way that takes account of their wildlife
Undertake a biodiversity
audit of the wildlife of Sutherland, starting with a literature
identify gaps in our knowledge and draw together existing regional
and local recording projects.
Raise awareness of the
biodiversity of Sutherland, facilitate easy access to information
important species and habitats, and encourage the collection of
tourism through the provision of local facilities and services.
Discourage the import of new
species into the area unless the species was indigenous and can
offer a positive contribution to the current biodiversity.
Identify threatened species
and / or areas, and encourage their conservation.
Encourage and support small
and large community-led biodiversity projects to enhance local
habitats and ensure they are adequately resourced and publicised.
Enhance biodiversity in
Sutherland by supporting the diversification and improvement of
and the improved habitat management of rivers and open moorland.
Key biodiversity targets for
The Sutherland Biodiversity Group has suggested one key target for each
broad habitat type, listed below.
To work with local communities
towards the designation and management of a Marine Reserve
within inshore waters in Sutherland.
To map the distribution of all
national and local priority freshwater species and habitats, and manage
all of Sutherland’s watercourses accordingly.
To enable up to 50% of Sutherland’s
farm and croft land to be managed for biodiversity under agrienvironment
schemes such as the Rural Stewardship Scheme or Whole-Farm Agreements.
To bring 1000 ha of native
woodland into management (e.g. by reducing grazing), and expand the
native woodland area by a further 1000 ha through natural regeneration.
To bring 50% of Sutherland’s
moorland into positive management under an agreed deer management plan,
muirburning plan or management agreement.
To encourage five of the larger
towns and villages in Sutherland to undertake an audit of their
To use the whole 400,000 acres of
the Dornoch Firth basin as a model for the practice and
demonstration of prudent land use throughout the Highlands involving
crofters, farmers, foresters,
water bailiffs and stalkers.
To complete coverage of the
Highland Council Ranger Service within Sutherland by securing a ranger
post in North Sutherland.
A number of future actions have been suggested for each broad habitat, but
there were a few suggestions arising from the consultation exercise that
are more general ideas or common to many habitats, and they are listed
Undertake scientific research to
support anecdotal evidence of local people regarding the environmental
impacts of certain activities, to be used to demonstrate the need for
changes in use or to build an enhanced case for funding for local
Employ a biodiversity education
officer for one year to hold a workshop road show in the village halls for
children and adults, raise awareness of local wildlife and get feedback on
how attitudes are changing.
Employ at least one permanent
full-time biodiversity officer or ecologist within The Highland Council to
make significant long-term improvements.
Hold one-day workshops for
crofters, farmers, shepherds and keepers on various subjects relating to
Produce an annual newspaper for
Sutherland biodiversity issues.
Encourage dog owners to keep dogs
on leads to reduce disturbance to ground-nesting birds, and introduce ‘dog
toilets’ at the entrance to community parks and woodlands, backed up by
hefty fines for owners that permit their dogs to foul recreational areas.
What can you do?
Everyone can do their bit for biodiversity and the environment, whether it
is on the farm or croft, in the garden or down at the shops! Here are some
examples of how you can help:
Find out about your local
environment and take part in local environmental projects.
Become one of the BTCV Scotland’s
Highland volunteers (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers)
Join your local Field or Bird Club,
and take part in surveys or projects.
Send all wildlife records to the
Highland Biological Recording Group.
Keep biodiversity high on the
political agenda by writing to your MSP, MP or MEP.
Dispose of hazardous
Pick up litter and encourage people
not to drop litter.
Use less bleach and harmful
cleaning products at home and in the garden.
Use biodegradable cleaning products
and washing powder.
Don’t flush non-biodegradable items
down the toilet.
Garden for wildlife
Compost all your garden and
Buy alternatives to peat based
Plant native species that will
provide food and shelter all year round for wildlife.
If you have space, dig a pond.
Leave a ‘wild bit’ - long grass,
nettles and other weeds can be good for butterflies.
Grow your own vegetables, and grow
to organic principles.
Put up nest boxes and bat
boxes, and build log or stone piles for insects. Don’t forget the larger,
global issues such as reducing waste and using less energy:
Buy products that will last
as long as possible, with as little packaging as possible.
Re-use your shopping bags and take
a strong bag with you when you go shopping.
Re-use and recycle things as
much as possible.
Buy recycled and locally sourced
products when you can.
Make sure any wood products you buy
carry an accredited certification logo, such as the FSC (Forestry
Use less energy
Reduce heat loss by insulating your
Use low-energy light-bulbs and turn
the TV off when you’re not watching it.
Buy energy efficient appliances
when you renew old ones.
Try to use your car as little as