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Biodiversity

The Biodiversity Officer provides advice on the protection and enhancement of wildlife, as well as information on nature reserves and other wildlife sites that are open to the public.

Biodiversity is short for biological diversity. It simply means the variety of life - the great richness of living things in the natural world, everything from the smallest insect to the largest whale, from the tiny toadstools to huge ancient trees. Biodiversity is more than just a few rare animals and plants; it includes the huge array of species and habitats, the genetic variation contained within these, and it includes us.

Dumfries and Galloway has a unique and rich biodiversity. This variety is important for a number of reasons. Just a few of these include:

  • Environmental Services – Floodplain marshes act as natural release valves for rivers in flood, reedbeds are used to treat sewage, peatlands and seas lock up carbon, soil fungi is essential for most of our crops to grow, and trees help reduce air pollution. Most of these services are free!
  • Health – Not only can biodiversity be a source of medicines (heart drugs from foxgloves), but recent evidence has also shown that patients recover more quickly in wildlife rich environments.
  • Landscapes – Biodiversity contributes to the distinctive landscape of Dumfries and Galloway. Our Woodlands, meadows, lochs and hedgerows have a long history of management, and are as much a part of our cultural heritage as our castles and churches.
  • Tourism – Walking, wildlife watching, angling, and wildfowling together bring more tourists to Dumfries and Galloway than any other attractions.
  • Farming – An agricultural industry that works with nature requires fewer inputs of fertilisers and pesticides, and food produced in harmony with biodiversity has significant market advantages over intensively farmed produce.
  • Industry – Many of the region's industries use products, such as timber, harvested from the environment.
  • Enjoyment – The contribution biodiversity makes to our quality of life is enormous. Imagine a countryside without wildflowers and birdsong. What a dreary place it would be to live!

The need to protect biodiversity was recognised by world leaders at the 1992 Rio 'Earth Summit' where the UK and 150 other countries signed the 'Convention on Biological Diversity'.

In 1994 the government published the UK's Biodiversity Action Plan, which set out steps needed for biodiversity conservation in the UK (Biodiversity: the UK Steering Group Report, 1995). In 2004, Scotland published the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy (Scotland's Biodiversity: It's In Your Hands). This sets "a framework for action to conserve and enhance biodiversity for the health, enjoyment and well-being of all the people of Scotland."

Although locally driven and developed, the Dumfries and Galloway Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) is part of a national and international programme designed to maintain and enhance biodiversity globally. The first edition was published in June 1999. It was one of the first LBAPs in Scotland and went on to win the Royal Town Planning Institute's Scottish Award for Quality in Planning and the Scottish Silver Green Apple Trophy for Environmental Best Practice.

Since 1999, more than 80 organisations have become part of the Dumfries & Galloway Biodiversity Partnership, and have taken positive action towards LBAP targets. Individuals, land managers, communities, businesses, voluntary environmental groups and statutory agencies have all contributed successful projects, large and small, that have helped protect and enhance the special biodiversity of Dumfries & Galloway.

In 2009 a completely revised and updated Dumfries & Galloway LBAP was published. This provides new targets for the years ahead that will enable everyone to further the conservation of biodiversity in the region.

The Dumfries and Galloway Local Biodiversity Action Plan (Second Edition) has been subject to a process of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), as required under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. Copies of the SEA Environmental Report and SEA Post-adoption Report can be downloaded below. Hard copies are available for inspection, free of charge, Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm at Dumfries & Galloway Council Offices, Planning & Environment, Newall Terrace, Dumfries, DG1 1LW.

pdf icon LBAP II SEA Environmental Report [359kb] 
pdf icon LBAP SEA Post-adoption Report [136kb]

The full Dumfries & Galloway Local Biodiversity Action Plan can be downloaded below, but please note that this is a large file. Smaller sections can therefore be downloaded individually from this page, and the pages for habitats and species.

Related Information

Contact Details

 

Biodiversity Officer

Environmental Planning
Militia House
English Street
Dumfries
DG1 2HR

Tel: 01387 260172
Fax: 01387 260149
Email this contact

Contact Dumfries and Galloway Council T: 030 33 33 3000

Council Offices
English Street
Dumfries
DG1 2DD

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