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Launch of Highland Nature bodes well for Caithness bees and butterflies


By David G Scott

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The launch yesterday (Tuesday, June 15) of Highland Nature, the biodiversity action plan for 2021 to 2026 highlights some of the positive steps taken in Caithness.

Creating the plan has been coordinated by the Highland Environment Forum and funded by NatureScot and Highland Council, but the actions for nature will be carried out by the 43 partners who represent land managers, local conservation groups, nature conservation membership organisations and government agencies.

Small blue butterfly mating. Picture: Mary Legg
Small blue butterfly mating. Picture: Mary Legg

Caroline Vawdrey of the Highland Environment Forum said: “2021 is a year of international significance for making agreements to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, with the UN Biodiversity Conference being held in Kunming in China in October, and the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow in November.

“It is remarkable that forty-three partners have come together to share their ambitions for Highland biodiversity. We also know that this is just some of the work being undertaken in the region, and that there are many other people undertaking positive actions for nature. We’d love them to be involved.”

Small blue on kidney veitch. Picture: Mary Legg
Small blue on kidney veitch. Picture: Mary Legg

Welcoming the new biodiversity action plan, Cllr Trish Robertson said: “Highland Nature is a highly ambitious plan and Highland Council is looking forward to playing its part to protect nature and secure improvements for biodiversity. We will be developing existing partnerships and building new relationships across the Highlands to realise the actions and commitments of Highland Nature and help deliver positive outcomes to mitigate the current ecological emergency.”

The very rare Great yellow bumblebee Bombus distinguendus which is found in Caithness. Picture: Pieter Haringsma
The very rare Great yellow bumblebee Bombus distinguendus which is found in Caithness. Picture: Pieter Haringsma

The actions range from landscape-scale work, such as peatland restoration and woodland expansion to the smaller-scale activity so vital for individual species, like the work by the Caithness Biodiversity Group, growing and planting out kidney vetch to feed the rare small blue butterfly and help it to thrive.

The small blue butterfly is Britian's smallest butterfly and can be found in Caithness. The Caithness Biodiversity Group has been growing and planting out kidney vetch to feed the rare small blue butterfly and help it to thrive.
The small blue butterfly is Britian's smallest butterfly and can be found in Caithness. The Caithness Biodiversity Group has been growing and planting out kidney vetch to feed the rare small blue butterfly and help it to thrive.

There are many inspiring commitments in the plan, from mapping curlew hotspots which will help to protect important places for a species in worrying decline; to continuing to tackle invasive non-native species. There are also ambitious plans for Highland rivers, including expanding deciduous woodland to create shade in order to protect salmon spawn and other species from rising water temperatures.

Small blue drying its wings. Picture: Mary Legg
Small blue drying its wings. Picture: Mary Legg

Tackling and reducing the impact of climate change is recognised as key to the work to protect Highland nature, and this plan links with Highland Community Planning Partners’ plans to address these issues by working alongside communities through their Highland Adapts programme.

Highland Nature, 2021 - 2026 can be seen on the Highland Environment Forum website www.highlandenvironmentforum.info where there are also contact details to find out how to get involved.


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