Scottish Wildlife Trust - Impact Report

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© Mark Hamblin/2020VISION




“What’s your impact?” is designed to answer some of your questions about impact. At the Scottish Wildlife Trust, our mission is to protect Scotland’s amazing wildlife for generations to come. We want people who love Scotland and its rich natural environment to take action, and to make an impact by tackling the threats to the world around us. All across the country, there are examples of wildlife and wild places that have survived and are thriving, or recovering, thanks to the commitment and generosity of our members, supporters, partners and volunteers, including our network of local groups. Being impact-focused is one of our six core values, along with being evidence-based in our work.

The latest State of Nature report, compiled by a coalition of 53 wildlife organisations including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, gives us the clearest picture to date of the state of our wildlife. Sadly, despite some species faring well, many species in Scotland are in decline, with close to one in ten of those assessed being at risk of extinction in Great Britain. That’s why, together, we need to have an even greater impact. But this is possible. We hope “What’s your impact?” will inspire you to think about what can be achieved if we put our minds to it and how, collectively, we can do even more.

Jonathan Hughes Chief Executive, Scottish Wildlife Trust

Nature is our life support system but modern living is taking its toll on the natural world. In total, 65 of Scotland’s species are considered critically endangered in Great Britain, which means they are the most likely to become extinct. This is why the work of organisations like the Scottish Wildlife Trust is so important. Before we look at the difference we make, let’s look at the key threats to Scotland’s biodiversity:


Overgrazing by deer and sheep has drastically affected the uplands, where woodlands and montane scrub are threatened and scarce.

comes in many forms, from chemicals used in agriculture in the lowlands to the increasing amount of plastic in our seas.

Built developments

have a direct impact on natural habitats, especially when nature is not properly taken into account at every stage.

Misuse of our seas including through overfishing and damaging fishing practices, is having severe economic and environmental impacts.

Damaging land management practices

such as intensive farming, moorland burning and the draining of peatlands have all led to the loss of wildlife-rich habitats.

Understanding the


of modern life Climate change has far-reaching and profound implications for people and wildlife, from shrinking habitats due to rising temperatures, to soil erosion resulting from severe weather.

Habitat fragmentation means populations of plants and animals are smaller and more isolated, making them even more vulnerable to other threats.

Invasive non-native species

such as Japanese knotweed and North American signal crayfish are displacing native species and disrupting the balance of natural ecosystems.

By championing the cause of wildlife through our policy and campaigning work, demonstrating best practice on our wildlife reserves and in our partnership projects, and inspiring people to take positive action through education and related activities, the Scottish Wildlife Trust is directly tackling these threats.

How do you

have as much impact as possible

Š Paul Naylor

with the resources you’ve got?

Following a survey of maerl – amazing coral-like seaweed – carried out by the Scottish Wildlife Trust,

scallop-dredging has been banned

in the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area, protecting important species of fish and shellfish.

We tackle the root of the problem, not just the symptoms. This helps us turn financial contributions from our members and supporters into long-lasting impact, built around four goals: Healthy Ecosystems; Thriving Species; Protected Places; and a Scotland that Values and Benefits from Nature.

After a 30-year absence, an ambitious translocation project carried out on our Gailes Marsh Wildlife Reserve means the small blue butterfly – the

smallest butterfly in the UK

– is thriving once more in Ayrshire.

After years of damage, the colourful plants of delicate

peatland ecosystems

are springing back to life, thanks to the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s work pioneering new techniques to restore internationally important lowland raised bogs.

Native trees like birch, ash and rowan are flourishing in Cumbernauld’s Forest Wood Wildlife Reserve, after the removal of non-native species.

Where can I

see the impact of your work?

More than four hundred years after they were hunted to extinction in Scotland, beavers are back, thanks to the first official reintroduction of a mammal to the UK. Meanwhile, red squirrels, still critically endangered in Scotland, are starting to make a comeback and ospreys are thriving only a century after nearly dying out here. All across Scotland, you can see examples of how our work is making a difference.

Ospreys have successfully Thanks to the Trust-led Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project,

red squirrels

are starting to return to parts of their historic territory, including in Aberdeenshire.

fledged over 90 chicks from nests on our wildlife reserves, including Loch of the Lowes, home to our famous osprey webcam.

An area of wetland

bigger than 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools

has been created by beavers at the Dubh Loch in Knapdale, benefiting wildlife like dragonflies, frogs and bats.

How do you

measure the impact

Š Katrina Martin

you’re having?

Sometimes it’s easy to see the impact of our work – a wildflower meadow restored to its former glory, an osprey soaring overhead or a class of schoolchildren captivated by a wildlife experience they’ll never forget. But to really understand whether we’re making a long-term difference, we’re strengthening our focus on evidence and knowledge.

Over 250 nationally important species and habitats

are protected on the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s 120 wildlife reserves, from the breeding seabird colony on Handa Island to the lowland grassland at Bo’mains Meadow.

Numbers can help show impact in different ways. Here are just a few:

70,000 inspiring interactions every year

Over Our Flying Flock and Herd have

revitalised 68 hectares

of threatened wildflower meadow through our pioneering conservation grazing programme, benefiting rare species such as the greater butterfly orchid.

help people connect with nature through education, events and visitor centres.

Do you

work with communities

© Niall Benvie/2020VISION

to increase your impact?

As part of Cumbernauld Living Landscape, our Natural Connections project has engaged over 6,800 people, delivered 42 practical sessions to students and provided

professional development training to 16 teachers and counting.

We work with communities to develop our pioneering Living Landscape projects, learning from local experts and providing support for new ideas that will bring a variety of long-term benefits for wildlife and people. The Scottish Wildlife Trust has a long history of working closely with local communities to find the best local solutions.

Two decades on from the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s involvement in the historic community buyout of the Isle of Eigg, we continue to work with the community to

manage the island as a wildlife reserve for the benefit of people and wildlife alike.

Through the Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape, initiated and led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust,

25,000 native trees

are being produced annually through a local tree nursery. Our target is to increase this to 100,000 trees within a few years.

Do you

team up

Š Pete Cairns

with other organisations for an even bigger impact?

All our major projects involve partnership, as we believe we can achieve more if we work together. Working with partners, we can learn from each other, gather more evidence and be more cost-effective, as we strive for the greatest collective impact.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is one of over 20 organisations which have come together to help protect the last remaining

Scottish wildcats

as part of Scottish Wildcat Action.

Through the Edinburgh Living Landscape, initiated by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the City of Edinburgh Council and other partners have created over

200 naturalised grasslands and 70 meadows We work with over

60 partner organisations

in Scotland and beyond, many of which are listed at the end of this booklet.

so far.

What about having an

Š Jon Noad

impact on government and business?

To raise awareness of the economic and social benefits of protecting our natural environment, the Scottish Wildlife Trust invited a group of international partners to help us organise the

world’s first major global conference on natural capital.

By the time we ran the second, it attracted nearly 600 people from 45 countries.

Working with other nature conservation organisations, we successfully campaigned for the Marine (Scotland) Act and the implementation of

30 Marine Protected Areas

in Scotland’s seas.

We help decision-makers in government and business to see that better decisions for nature are better decisions for everyone. By working together we show that looking after our natural environment is also good for our prosperity and wellbeing.

Following our pioneering work on natural capital, the Scottish Government has adopted the concept into their

National Performance Framework. Our 50 for the Future publication lists 50 things that we would like to see happen in the next 50 years. It’s a call to action for all of Scotland and highlights what we could achieve if we work together.

What do you do to

reduce your negative impact?

At the Scottish Wildlife Trust, we are always trying to reduce our negative environmental footprint, in ways that other organisations can also try. For example:

Promoting alternatives to travel including

videoconferencing and working from home.



catering at our meetings and events. Installing

solar panels on the roof of our office to make the most of the sunshine on Leith!

Encouraging the use of public transport, offering a

Cycle to Work scheme and providing ecofriendly driver training.

What can I do to have a positive impact? Reduce your carbon footprint

by using public transport, cycling or car-sharing.

Help wildlife

in your garden by building a pond, creating a bug home, planting native trees and flowers, using peat-free compost, cutting out pesticide use and feeding garden birds.


at your local wildlife reserve.

Become an informed consumer and make

environmentally responsible choices about the food and other products you buy.

The loss of biodiversity and our changing climate are two of the biggest challenges human beings have ever faced. We all need to be part of the solution. Luckily, there are lots of ways you can help protect the wildlife and wild places you love, and make sure they are there for future generations to enjoy. Here are just a few:

Organise a

litter pick

at your local green space or beach. Reduce your

food and plastic waste Join

the Scottish Wildlife Trust to help us protect Scotland’s wildlife for the future.

by buying only what you need, remembering to carry a reusable bag and avoiding products containing micro-beads.

Help wildlife

in your neighbourhood

by writing to your MSP and responding to planning applications that could cause significant damage to nature.

To find out more about how you can get involved in helping to conserve Scotland’s wildlife and wild places, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or visit:


partners Here is a selection of just some of the organisations we are pleased to be working with: Association of Deer Management Groups / Assynt Field Club / Assynt Foundation / Buglife / Butterfly Conservation / Cairngorms National Park Authority / Central Scotland Green Network / City of Edinburgh Council / Coigach Community Development Company / Coigach Salmon Fisheries / Culag Community Woodland Trust / Dundonald Links Golf Course / Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust / Eisg Brachaidh / Falkirk Council / Forestry Commission Scotland / Green Surge / Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust / Historic Assynt / Historic Environment Scotland / Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland / Institute of Directors Scotland / International Union for Conservation of Nature / Irvine Golf Course / Isle Martin Trust / Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust / John Muir Trust / Kylesku Estate / Marine Conservation Society / National Farmers Union Scotland / National Museums Scotland / National Trust for Scotland / Natural Capital Coalition / North Ayrshire Council / North Harris Trust / North Lanarkshire Council / North West Highlands Geopark / Plantlife / Prince’s Foundation for Building Community / Red Squirrel Survival Trust / Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh / Royal Zoological Society of Scotland / RSPB Scotland / Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group / Scottish Badgers / Scottish Environment LINK / Scottish Environment Protection Agency / Scottish Land and Estates / Scottish Natural Heritage / South Lanarkshire Council / Tanera Mor / The Conservation Volunteers / The Crown Estate / The Heather Trust / The James Hutton Institute / The Scottish Gamekeepers Association / The University of Edinburgh / United Nations Environment Programme / Woodland Trust / World Business Council for Sustainable Development. This has been printed in small quantities to reduce environmental impact and is also available online.

The story of this

impact report This impact report came about as a result of our support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Through this longstanding relationship, we have been encouraged to look hard at the impact we are making and get even better at understanding the impact we can have. To find out more about our recent achievements, and about how support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has helped wildlife in Scotland, please visit our website at

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is grateful for financial assistance and support from a range of other organisations, funders and individuals, including Scottish Natural Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is affiliated to The Wildlife Trusts, a UK-wide network of 47 Trusts with more than 2,000 wildlife reserves. The Scottish Wildlife Trust is a Scottish registered charity (charity number SC005792) and a company limited by guarantee and registered in Scotland (registered number SC040247). Its registered office is Harbourside House, 110 Commercial Street, Edinburgh EH6 6NF.

Our impact

in your words “My first time snorkelling was when our Wildlife Watch group took part in the snorkel trail launch last year. It was nice seeing all the shells and pebbles on the bottom. The jellyfish were a bit scary though! After that, me and my mum went snorkelling when we went on holiday to Orkney. It’s been great being able to learn how to snorkel and we’re going to do it more in the summer.“ Velvet Lawton (age 12), Wildlife Watch member

“Since the start of the CALL project it has been great to see how many quality jobs have been created locally. Everything from forestry specialists to educational providers, top-end management to fencers. Training opportunities abound I passed my level 2 dry-stane dyking exam at an event organised by CALL!” Steve Husband, Coigach resident

“I had never seen a red squirrel in Aberdeen, though I had seen them not far away. The number of grey squirrels was rocketing so I volunteered to be involved with the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project. Last year I saw a red squirrel for the first time at my home, and have had two more sightings since!” Edith Beveridge, volunteer

Have you experienced our impact? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch at