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The Caithness Biodiversity Action Plan - February 2003

Front Page


Table of Contents
Introduction to Biodiversity
Introduction to Caithness
Habitat Map
Caithness Biodiversity Objectives General Opportunities for Action What You Can Do
Plan Delivery

The Habitats

Sea and Coast
The sea
Beaches, dunes & machair
Coastal cliffs & heaths

River, Loch and Wetland
Rivers and Lochs

Farm and Croft Land
Arable crops and field margins

Forest and  Woodland Introduction
Semi-natural woodland
Policy woodlands and plantations

Bog, Moor and Hill
Blanket bog
Heather moor

Town and Village
Parks and gardens
Roadside verges

1. References
2. Contact Details
3. National Priority Habitats and   Species List

4. Local Species Lists
4.6 Higher Plants

Biodiversity, short for ‘biological diversity’, is a relatively new word that has been coined to express the richness of nature or variety of life. It came into use after the UK government signed up to the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Earth Summit in Rio di Janeiro in 1992.

Biodiversity is concerned with nature and people, and sees the natural world as a vital asset, essential to our survival and quality of life. As a concept, it asks us to use our biological resources in a sustainable manner, i.e. in a way that doesn’t compromise our children’s abilities to use them too. 

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan
The UK Biodiversity Steering Group was created to help us meet the commitment agreed at Rio, and in 1995 it published a Report containing action plans to conserve 116 species and 14 habitats, together with recommendations for future biodiversity action

Since then, a further 6 volumes of habitat and species action plans have been published. There are now 45 habitat action plans (HAPs) and 391 species action plans (SAPs), which are being taken forward by government agencies and other large organisations. 

Local authorities and others are being encouraged to take local action to promote biodiversity, to complement and help deliver national action programmes and projects. Local biodiversity action plans (LBAPs) are now becoming increasingly important in the implementation of the national habitat and species action plans.

Scottish Action for Biodiversity
The Scottish Biodiversity Group was set up in 1996 to oversee action in Scotland as part of a UK strategy. Now called the Scottish Biodiversity Forum, it brings together representatives from many sectors, and encourages the development of local biodiversity action plans as a mechanism to ensure nationally and locally important habitats and species are conserved and enhanced through local action.

The Highland Biodiversity Project
A plan is being prepared for each area of Highland, focusing on the areas of Caithness, Sutherland, Ross & Cromarty East, Wester Ross, Skye & Lochalsh and Lochaber. Inverness & Nairn and Badenoch & Strathspey are already covered by related initiatives.  This plan for Caithness has been prepared by the Caithness Biodiversity Group, a group of local people representing a broad range of interests, set up following a biodiversity workshop held in Thurso in May 2002.

The plan attempts to set out what can be done in the next five to ten years. It is non-statutory, i.e. it is not legally binding, but with increased emphasis being placed on biodiversity and related issues by successive governments, it is widely accepted that such plans will become increasingly important in the targeting of resources and setting of priorities.

The Caithness Biodiversity Action Plan
The following chapters list the national and local priority habitats (highlighted) and species that are present in each broad habitat, as identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and by local people.  Further information on priority habitats and species is given in Annex 3.

It is divided into six chapters, each dealing with a broad habitat type: sea and coast; river, loch and wetland; farm and croft land; forest and woodland; bog, moor and hill; and town and village.  Each chapter gives a short introduction to the habitats and species present in Caithness, lists the main issues, and highlights some projects that are already working to improve the biodiversity of the area. The Plan then identifies some opportunities for future projects that could help conserve and enhance the biodiversity of Caithness in the next five to ten years.