Biodiversity conservation

Including rewilding, invasive species and conservation legislation.

Hedgehog

Our work on biodiversity conservation focuses on ensuring that conservation policy and practice is informed by the best scientific evidence. We work in collaboration with multiple partners, and are members of Wildlife and Countryside Link, Scottish Environment Link and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Current and recent focus areas include: rewilding, invasive species and EU conservation legislation.

Rewilding

Rewilding is a contested term that has been applied to a range of visions and land management practices that share a common aim of reducing human intervention so natural environmental processes have greater scope to shape landscapes on a large scale over a longer period of time.

Rewilding presents an optimistic, ambitious agenda for conservation that has captured the imagination of some ecologists, conservation practitioners and the public, yet has also attracted concern from many stakeholders. The evidence base for rewilding is currently limited, and it is important that emerging debates are informed by the best ecological science.

We will be developing further work on rewilding in 2017. Previous work includes:

  • Giving oral evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on the future of the natural environment after the EU referendum, with a specific focus on rewilding.
  • Our Scottish Policy Group’s Pie and a Pint event on “The place of people in rewilding”

Invasive species

Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) is a developing priority area that we will continue to engage with during 2017 especially in the light of the vote to leave the EU. The Invasive Alien Species Regulation is an important piece of European legislation that we, through chairing the Wildlife and Countryside Link Invasive Non-Native Species working group, are working to see transposed into domestic legislation as part of the Great Repeal Bill.  In addition, we will continue to:

  • Monitor and engage with the implementation of the GB Non-Native Species Strategy through sitting on the England Non-Native Species Working Group
  • Raise the awareness of invasive non-native species by actively engaging with Invasive Species Week 
  • Work with our members to ensure policy engagement opportunities are brought to their attention.

EU Conservation legislation

During 2015 and 2016 the European Union Birds and Habitats Directives were subject to a “fitness check” under the European Commission’s REFIT programme. Following an extensive period of consultation and evidence-gathering, the Commission concluded that the Directives are highly relevant and fit for purpose, and that their implementation should be improved.

We hosted a workshop and webinar on the “Fitness Check” process to inform our members. We contributed to the UK Joint Links evidence submission to the Fitness Check, and supported the Joint Links position statement. We also submitted a response to the public consultation.