If we don’t halt and reverse the decline in nature, then our world and all of us will have a poorer and more uncertain future.
Through our Future Nature programme we are working with a range of partners and stakeholders and have developed the Future Nature Route Map focusing on new projects to restore nature at landscape-scale in the National Park.
But there are steps we can all take, in our daily lives, in our communities, or as a business or landowner, that can help deliver a more positive future for nature and a wealth of benefits for everyone.
Funding is currently available from the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund to support projects that restore wildlife and habitats and address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.
If you have a project that needs funding support, and will deliver on one or more of the key themes of the Nature Recovery Fund:
The National Park’s landowners and managers will be amongst our most crucial partners. We need your experience and skills to help deliver nature restoration across land and water in the National Park.
This doesn’t mean nature instead of our existing land uses, but it means making more space for natural processes and allowing nature to thrive. For example, by managing invasive non-native species, restoring peatlands, and where needed expanding tree cover and reducing high grazing pressures.
Businesses can play a vital role in protecting and restoring nature in supply chains and inspiring their customers on the need to restore nature. Increasingly customers are seeking services which have a positive impact on climate and nature. Use your purchasing power and buy from other businesses which take responsibility or have a positive nature impact. Businesses could also contribute towards funding local green projects, even small donations can make a difference to projects in your community.
Or if your premises include a greenspace, consider making space for nature, with wilder-managed corners and homes for wildlife. Check out Wildlife Trusts ‘How to help wildlife at work’ resources for ideas on how to create a peaceful area for colleagues and wildlife. There’s also great advice on reducing the impact of your business, like recycling.
Staff volunteer days are great for morale and the planet! Why not look for opportunities as a team to participate in tree planting, marine litter picks or wildlife surveys.
You may not think small changes will make a big difference to restoring nature in the National Park, but the simple steps we can all do, collectively can make a huge contribution. From simple individual actions like encouraging wildflowers and trees to collective actions with your community, don’t underestimate the positive impact you can have.
Invest in nature through wildlife friendly gardening and volunteering and support local businesses who champion sustainable practices. Our behaviours and how we treat the environment when we are in the National Park can also have a huge effect on nature. Take your litter and dog poo home and avoid damaging land and disrupting wildlife. You can also help nature everywhere by reducing the waste you produce and educating others about nature and its decline and the opportunities to restore it.
Here’s some examples of simple steps you can take as individuals or in your community:
Consider adding a bird box to provide a welcome nesting area or allow an area of your lawn to grow wild, creating a mini jungle for insects to hide in, and if there’s wildflowers there, it’s great for bees too.
RSPB’s Nature on Your Doorstep has lots of ideas, like creating a leaf mould cage to provide a cosy shelter for hedgehogs and toads.
The Wildlife Trusts has an abundance of fun stuff to introduce more wildlife to your garden, like how to create a container garden for wildlife if you have limited space.
Did you know that rhododendron ponticum is an Invasive Non Native Species (INNS)? While it may look pretty, it escapes from gardens to become wild rhododendron jungles, taking over sections of our native woodlands blocking out light so no other plants stand a chance. You can help by removing rhodededron ponticum from your garden. Try replacing with native alternative shrubs like holly, crab apple, wild cheery, hazel, hawthorn and juniper.
You can also help, right here in the National Park getting hands-on in our conservation work by volunteering with us.
Could you be a community activist, making sure nature restoration is included in local consultations, local development plans and working with organisations like community councils, to inform your community on the key role of nature for us all?
You could work with local landowners to deliver projects together, like planting trees, growing wildflowers, or installing ponds, bug hotels and bird and bat boxes – these can be small scale, such as in school grounds or in a park, or working on larger community projects.
Don’t underestimate the power of working together with your community to make significant change. Check out this blog on the River Goil Green Revetment Project, where Lochgoil Community Trust joined forces with Argyll Fisheries Trust and the National Park Authority to support one of Scotland’s most iconic fish species.
Feeling inspired? You can get involved in fundraising, delivering projects and even consider taking over bits of land to manage for nature and for your community. Here are some resources and case studies on what’s possible if you want to think big!