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The Caithness Biodiversity Action Plan - February 2003

A number of specific opportunities for action have been suggested under each broad habitat, but there were a few more general opportunities that are common to many habitats, and they are listed below.

       Habitat Management

  • Encourage greater recognition of the benefits of existing land management practices towards biodiversity.

  • Increase coverage of agri-environment schemes and land management contracts by raising the overall budget available for agri-environmental work.

  • Encourage more habitat enhancement projects, through initiatives such as Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s Habitat Enhancement Initiative, which promotes the creation, reinstatement and good management of wildlife habitats.

  • Encourage land managers to re-route access paths away from sensitive habitats and species through working with initiatives such as the Highland Access Project.

  • Employ a farmland biodiversity officer to advise on agri-environment opportunities and management to improve biodiversity.

    Species Protection

  • Ensure future developers are made aware of the biodiversity interest of the area, and any likely impacts caused by e.g. wind farm proposals.

  • Eradicate invasive species such as whins, ragwort or salmonberry in areas where they are threatening other important species.

    Awareness Raising

  • Encourage wildlife tourism activities, and continue training in issues related to wildlife tourism for Tourist Information Centre staff and tourist operators.

  • Produce web-based biodiversity materials on www.wildcaithness.org

  • Continue to raise awareness of biodiversity and the natural environment through ranger-led walks and events.

  • Encourage schools to undertake more site visits and field trips, using the soon to be re-launched ‘Schools Out’ pack, which will contain up-to-date information on sites.

  • Promote the financial benefits associated with biodiversity, e.g. clean beaches are better for wildlife and attract more tourists.

    Information Collection

  • Produce a biodiversity audit of Caithness, summarising the status and distribution of both national and local priority habitats and species.

  • Expand the Highland Biological Recording Centre, and encourage more people to get involved in
    recording habitats and species.

    Planning, Monitoring and Funding

  • Encourage more volunteers to get involved in surveys, beach clean-ups and other biodiversity projects by providing childcare facilities and reimbursing travel and subsistence costs.

  • Employ an independent officer to co-ordinate partner actions aimed at delivering the Caithness Biodiversity Action Plan, and help volunteer and community groups target funding and resources to
    raise awareness and deliver practical biodiversity projects.

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