Wildlife conference raises the bar for biodiversity

Participants heard about a range of projects ranging from landscape-scale initiatives such as the work of the Peatlands Partnership in Caithness and Sutherland, to habitat-based approaches like the Highland Seashore Project, to enterprises specifically targeting the needs of priority species such as the Highland Wildcat Project.

The afternoon workshop session gave people an opportunity to feed in their thoughts on where the Highland Environment Forum partners should be focusing their efforts in the next five to six years.

The Conference, entitled “Highland Biodiversity Action Plan: What have we achieved so far and what are our priorities for the future?” was hosted by the Highland Environment Forum, and chaired by Scottish Natural Heritage’s soon-to-be Chairman, Ian Ross.  He said: “I was delighted to chair this conference, which has been a very useful and productive event.  I thought one of the strongest messages, demonstrated by all the speakers, was the benefits of partnership working and involving people in wildlife-related projects.

“I was particularly interested in the ideas to build biodiversity into the everyday work of public bodies, and in finding new ways to work together and demonstrate the public value of biodiversity and biodiversity-related work.
He continued: “I chaired the Highland Biodiversity Partnership when it was established back in 2006, and in the eight years since I have seen local groups and partners deliver a plethora of excellent projects both at the local level and across Highland.

“Now that the Partnership has become part of the Highland Environment Forum, we have a great opportunity to shape the future direction of biodiversity work across Highland and deliver even more good projects for local wildlife.”

The Environment Forum is currently preparing a new Highland Biodiversity Action Plan, which will cover the period from 2014 to 2020.  The results of the discussion session will feed into a consultative draft document, which will be issued for public consultation next month.

Anyone wishing to find out more or feed in their views to the Highland BAP consultation should visit the website www.highlandbiodiversity.com.

27 Feb 2014
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