Table of Contents
Introduction to Biodiversity
Introduction to Caithness
Caithness Biodiversity Objectives
General Opportunities for Action
You Can Do
Sea and Coast
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
Policy woodlands and plantations
Bog, Moor and Hill
Town and Village
Parks and gardens
2. Contact Details
3. National Priority Habitats and
4. Local Species Lists
4.6 Higher Plants
INTRODUCTION TO BIODIVERSITY
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
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
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.