What is a national ecological network anyway?

There is  a lot of talk about natural capital and ecosystem services at the moment. One of the ways of protecting our capital and services is establishing a national ecological network. So what is that?

A National Ecological Network (NEN) consists of robust and healthy ecosystems, capable of sustaining the full range of ecosystem services upon which Scotland depends and which are vital for Scotland’s sustainable development.
A well planned NEN built on sound ecological principles protects ecosystems and their services through the plants and fungi that are the basis of all ecosystems. This is the mechanism that can ensure that local development management takes place within a sustainable national context.

IPA Sunart eg
While a NEN can only be effective if delivered at a national scale, aiming to re-connect Scotland’s fragmented ecosystems across mainland Scotland and its islands, its delivery must be planned at a relevant scale locally. This provides a national green infrastructure, complementing the built infrastructure projects of national planning frameworks.
Designing an effective NEN, however,  requires robust understanding and modelling of the elements that support ecosystem services. These services include resistance to disease, pollination, water regulation and soil fertility for example. For these services to continue to be available to people, they require robust and diverse ecosystems, founded upon self sustaining and genetically diverse species populations. These populations and the habitats they comprise are an essential consideration in proposals for development throughout the country if we are to retain the ecosystem services we all rely on.
This approach is encapsulated by the Important Plant Areas (IPA) initiative, which meets targets 4 and 5 in the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), to which the UK and Scottish governments are committed through the Convention on Biological Diversity, and provides an ecological coherent basis for a green infrastructure.
Delivery of IPAs in Scotland has to date focussed on their identification and management advice, which is now being effectively rolled out, across the West Coast IPA and North Coast IPA. A funding bid is in place to secure parallel advances in the Cairngorms IPAs. However, Scotland, as a whole, is at a stage where the detail of how built development can adversely affect ecosystem functionality needs to be addressed within a national context. This could be part of the recently updated Scottish Land Use Strategy and the Climate Change Adaptation Framework, both of which look to an integrated approach for development and management in a changing and uncertain climate.
This national ecological network approach achieves 3 objectives:
1. Improving the quality and resilience of Scotland’s natural environment,
2. enabling species and habitats to adapt to climate change by linking fragmented ecosystems together and providing means for species to move from site to site
3. maintaining and protecting ecosystem services in the future.
It also provides the context for the development of effective green infrastructure in the long term.

Scotland’s international reputation for a high quality environment, itself providing a market for skills development and job creation across Scotland, will only be maintained through creating this network. We need to start to implement it across the country using the established models already in place if we are to gain from it.

Read more here:

Scotland’s Important Plant Areas (2015) Plantlife. www.plantlife.org.uk/publications/scotlands_important_plant_areas

Nature needs us to get MAD

For the last 40 years. European legislation has set a benchmark for environmental legislation. This has provided a strategic framework for national legislation that is set for the long term, and makes ecological sense. Transposed into Scots law, as a result we have some of the best environmental legislation in the world.

This is now at risk. Without this EU framework, governments across the UK could start to draw back on the legislation we have. In Holyrood, Cardiff and Westminster, domestic environmental legislation, alongside legislation on social issues, could be redrawn, not to improve the UK’s natural environment and ensure it is resilient enough for future generations to enjoy, but to meet the short term interests of those who wish to make economic gain from de-valuing our environment.

Nature needs us to get MAD about this now. Why MAD?

worth more than a penny...
worth more than a penny…

Money: let’s face it, this is all about money. Nature costs us money – think of the expense incurred through the flooding over recent years. Nature earns us money – in Scotland, the economic outputs from activities that depend on the natural environment have been estimated at about £17.2 billion a year, 11% of Scotland’s total outputs. Now, we need to invest in nature: until 2 weeks ago, the biggest, arguably only, source of funding for management to conserve nature was through the EU funded Scottish Rural Development Programme. Direct funding for biodiversity conservation has been drying up of late with all eyes now pointing at SRDP. We need to invest to increase that national output beyond 11% and we need to invest so that the costs of nature loss from flooding, ill health and lack of opportunity are reduced.
Ambition: it isn’t enough to sit back and hope someone else deals with this. We need clear sighted, ecologically literate policy makers to devise and deliver policy instruments that conserve nature for future generations of people, plants, porpoises and peregrines (for example). That’s why, Plantlife, with other eNGO partners have written to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary, asking her to commit publicly to maintaining the current suite of EU legislation as enshrined in Scottish law, and committing to the a continuing trajectory to conserve nature. Arguably that is not enough – we need to be doing more but let’s not go backwards.
Determination: if we cannot defend nature and conserve it for future generations, we are compounding the negative trends we’ve created. Nature cannot not speak for itself – it relies on those who care to speak up and protect it. However, although it can’t speak, it does act. Once a tipping point is reached, natural processes have the potential to set in motion a chain of events that we are unlikely to be able to control. Climate change is one of those tipping points as is biodiversity loss. The combination of two, already in action, is going to be devastating for the planet – unless we get MAD.

Yes, no mebbe…does the nation care about native plants?

In Autumn every year, Scottish Natural Heritage commissions a public attitude survey about nature [1] . Scotland loves its native plants, doesn’t it?

Scotland’s informal national anthem is ’Flower of Scotland’, Scotland’s national poet had a penchant for wild flowers, his wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow’r being one of many to feature in his poems, Scotland has a national tree, the Scots pine and, as Hugh MacDiarmid had it, hills that are so much more than nothing but heather. Despite all this, it seems flowers are still not part of Scotland’s natural psyche.

Spear thistle
Spear thistle

When asked what wildlife do you associate most with Scotland, not a single plant, or even tree, was named. I find this hard to believe. Plants define Scotland’s landscapes. Where would machair be without flowers, where would Celtic rainforests be without lichens and bryophytes? Where would the uplands be without heather?

Maybe plants aren’t seen as wildlife? This survey strongly indicates this might be the case: we still not winning the battle of hearts and minds. Plants provide the backdrop but haven’t yet found their way onto centre stage. They remain the wallflowers at the biodiversity ball.

Does this matter? Yes it does.

It is resulting in wild plants being invisible. Plants are not seen as part of wildlife. In 2015, fewer people were concerned about the loss of biodiversity than in 2014. The public is becoming less engaged in biodiversity at home in the garden, fewer people see themselves as green consumers and fewer people are volunteering.

Wild plants are invisible to politicians and policy makers too. Native plant diversity is continuing to decline: in 2007, the Countryside Survey showed significant declines in plant diversity in the best places for plants, as well as in the wider countryside. Even this survey, the only one that monitored long term changes in plant diversity, is no longer funded. This is resulting in an ongoing decline that we can’t see and no longer measure.

And there is the rub. With plants and fungi being invisible to policy makers, there are fewer and fewer resources allocated to them. Funding to the Countryside Survey is being cut and governments across the UK are relying on a new citizen science project [2], run by Plantlife with CEH and BSBI, to assess changes in wild plants. It will take at least 6 years before we have enough data to detect trends, and funding for the survey is only guaranteed until next year. Funding for actual conservation projects is drying up with cuts to SNH grants and no other funders prioritise plant conservation.

The net result will be a continued decline in plant diversity and the concomitant decline in ecosystem diversity, leading to simplified ecosystems. Plantlife’s Vanishing flora report [3], showed the ongoing loss of diversity in plants. Since the 17th century when botanical records began, Scotland has lost 97 native species. And of those left, one in 4 are classified as in danger of extinction.

At Plantlife we want to celebrate our fantastic, life-supporting flora and celebrate our long term love affair with our native plants. But to do that, we need more people to notice them and to value them. That’s the only way we’ll persuade our politicians and policy makers to put resources into plants and fungi conservation. Because if they don’t we’ll continue to be witness to the ongoing loss of native plants across Scotland. That is not a legacy we should be passing on.

Want to help?

With Scottish Environment LINK, Plantlife will be asking all our new MSPs to become Species Champions. Keep an eye on progress here: www.scotlink.org/work-areas/species-champions

Take part in the NPMS to help measure plant diversity across Scotland: http://www.npms.org.uk/

[1]http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/customercare/Scottish%20Nature%20Omnibus%20-%20Autumn%202015.pdf

[2] http://www.npms.org.uk/

[3] http://www.plantlife.org.uk/publications/our_vanishing_flora

Mind the gap

DSCF0029

What’s the biggest threat to life on Earth today? It depends on the value you place on the quality of life. If we assume quality of life includes meeting the everyday requirements of clean water, clean air, productive soils, and access to food, building materials, it should also extend to having the freedom to experience a rich and varied life. These are all fundamentally based on the assets and services that nature provides us with. Yet so many of us are today are insulated against the forces that bring these assets to our doorsteps that we forget they are there.

Such is the threat today to nature. In the hustle of everyday life, we forget that nature plods along providing us with clean water and nutritionally valuable food every day, while we career on with today’s preoccupations. It is this dislocation between what is valuable and what is not that is starkly reflected in headlines. One day, the gap between what we take for granted and what we value is going to get so wide, we’re going to fall in.

So it is that while we continue to take nature for granted and what’s been termed the 6th extinction continues apace, we will, inevitably, reach a stage where nature no longer functions and can no longer provide us with everyday requirements we have. Studies have shown, for example that in a grassland habitat, 80% of plant species play some sort of role. What that role is and how important it is we don’t necessarily know. But what we do know is that the 80% of species all work together somehow to enable the grassland ecosystem to function. There is, as we also know, an ongoing simplification of our habitats, where we’re continuing to lose species richness and habitats are composed of fewer species. Once we get below this 80% in grasslands, the system will collapse. We may not notice for a while, but at some point, some service we took for granted will no longer be there. But by that point it will be too late.

This is why the ‘precautionary principle’ is so enlightened and brilliant. It takes account of the fact that we don’t understand how our ecosystems work and it puts in place an insurance policy to make sure we don’t squander the riches we have by accident. Despite the brilliance of the concept, the precautionary principle comes under attack on a regular basis for being incompatible with the need to continue to grow. Rather instead of being perceived as against sustainable development, it is rather the underpinning force of sustainable development. How ironic is that?

Dolpo people & landscape: a new book by Gerda Pauler

I have just finished reading Gerda Pauler’s new book Dolpo people and landscapes and it’s taken me right back to Dolpo. Gerda gets under the skin of the Dolpo-pa. She takes the reader by the hand through the dramatic Dolpo landscape, she wanders amongst its houses and temples and talks to its people.

There isn’t much text but there are lots of images and each one paints more than a thousand words. It is through the images, pages of smiling people, that we really get to experience what it is like to travel through Dolpo.

Chapters cover every aspect of Dolpo life. Life for girls and women, life at school, the culture of the Dolpo-pa, neighbours to Tibet but distinctive, religion in Dolpo, the seasons and life during the year in a Dolpo village, medicine and traditional health care, wildlife and conservation, trade and commodities, tourism and the film industry.

Although often perceived as remote and at the very edge of one of the smallest countries in the world, Gerda reveals the character and bounce of Dolpo. In spite of the dramatic landscape, the harsh environment, in the shadow of political indifference and exploited by the world, the indomitable character of the Dolpo-pa comes through. Their philosophy as a people that we need to tread lightly on the earth and their preoccupation with ice cream reflects everyday conservations, refracting from the big philosophical questions of our time to the wonder of the new.
Gerda uses quotes throughout the book and we gain through them the feeling that this is a book written by the Dolpo-pa. An authentic voice comes through:
…. life in Dolpo is hard and it is difficult to make ends meet, but I prefer it this way. The only thing I would have liked to take with me from the capital – a comfortable house with running water and heating. (Dondul)
My greatest wish is to become an amchi (doctor) like my father. In other times, the knowledge was passed onto an amchi’s son only, but my father and a group of other practitioners wanted this system to be changed. Now, everybody can join the training; also girls. (Tsering Sangmo)
….. it was tourism and not our own government that gave us schools, health posts and wind power. I am convinced that, in the long run, we will benefit from foreigners visiting Dolpo. (Tenzing Namdol)
If you want to understand a people, their landscape and their way of living in a remote and beautiful part of the world, read this. And take your inspiration to visit or support one of the projects that is building a future for Dolpo and its people:
www.drokpa.org who work with the Himalayan Amchi Association
www.actiondolpo.com
Gerda’s book is available here: http://www.gerdapauler.info/books

Scotland’s superfood weeds: using them at home & on the farm.

Following on from the report in the Scotsman on the superfood benefits of corn gromwell – http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/health-herb-to-become-super-crop-for-scots-farmers-1-3948583

Plantlife Scotland has put together a top 6 list of native plants, sometimes called weeds, that similarly provide high levels of key vitamins and minerals. These 6 plants all contain high levels of calcium, potassium, with magnesium, sodium and phosphorus, compared to perennial rye grass . Retaining these plants in species rich grasslands increases the availability of these minerals to grazing animals and helps diversify diets.

Some of these plants are superfoods for humans too . For example, nettles contain high levels of iron, calcium, potassium and manganese as well as vitamins a and c and beta-carotene. Traditionally made into soup, nettles can also be made into beer or eaten as greens or drunk as tea. And chickweed is high in magnesium, phosphorus, copper, vitamins A, C, B6, B12 and D.  Maybe we’re all missing something here: we have a superfood larder on our doorstep!


Dandelion
Dandelion

Dandelion: Taraxacum officinale
High in calcium and copper, compared to perennial rye grass. Used medicinally in the past and still used today as a diuretic, and as a tonic. It grows in a wide range of habitats including grassland and cultivated ground.

Common or stinging nettle: Urtica diocia
High in phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and copper, compared to perennial rye grass. Nettles contain many vitamins and minerals and are easily digested and have been used widely in the past to make soup, tea, beer or as greens. What’s more, cloth spun from nettle fibre was still being produced in Scotland into the late 18th century and a range of yellow to green-grey dyes were extracted. It was one of Scotland’s most useful plants. It grows in all habitats wherever the soil is rich in nitrogen.

Spear thistle
Spear thistle

Spear thistle: Cirsium vulgare
High in calcium compared to perennial rye grass. It grows in grassy and disturbed habitats.

Yarrow
Yarrow

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium
High in potassium and calcium compared to perennial rye grass. Used extensively in the past as a medicinal plant for humans and animals. It was used to treat sheep scab on the farm. And in the home, it was used to treat consumption, wounds, stomach complaints, cuts and bruises. The tea was drunk to combat melancholy. It was also used to make beer. It grows in grassy habitats.

Chickweed: Stellaria major

High in phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. In the past this plant had many medicinal uses and used for example to treat rashes and rheumatism, constipation and coughs and insomnia. It grows on bare patches in cultivated land on rich soils. Often a garden weed.

Creeping thistle: Cirsium arvense
High in phosphorus, potassium and calcium, compared to perennial rye grass. It grows in grassy habitats.

Further reading:

SRUC technical note TN643 (October 2014): Weed management in grassland.
Tess Darwin (2008) The Scots herbal. Birlinn.

Nature needs: a response to the State of Nature reports

 

On 13 October, the State of Nature Partnership, part of LINK’s Wildlife Forum launched a new report. This is the speech I gave at that launch.

In 2013, the State of Nature partnership, part of LINK’s Wildlife Forum, published the State of Nature report for Scotland. Here in Scotland, 54% of flowering plants are in decline adn 28% of these are in severe decline. Nature is in trouble. As an NGO community, our response was of course to ask, what can we do about that? Here, I’ll outline what we’ve concluded could and should be done, and how we have reached those conclusions – but first, let me outline why this is important.

First, we believe that we have a duty to look after our world, including its nature, for future generations. Besides these intrinsic values – making sure that our children’s children can pick wild flowers and hold snail races – nature has other ‘basic’ values. It is crucial to our quality of life and to the planet’s life support systems.

P1060458

As a community of NGOs, naturally, we care about nature. We, and our supporters, want to see it protected and restored. More than that, we and our supporters, want to see the global biodiversity targets for 2020, endorsed and agreed by the Scottish Government, met in full.

So, how did we go about answering the question: “what can we do about it?”

We adopted a scientifically based approach to build consensus amongst experts and identify robust predictions. We were thus able to identify 8 core needs for nature – 6 ecological needs, eg special places and 2 social needs, eg more support, more fans. What we didn’t do was sit in a closed room and generated a random list. Instead we were keen to use an inclusive and structured approach.

The result is 2 reports: an online technical report detailing the approach and consultations from all 4 countries of the UK and 4 summary reports, launched simultaneously in Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Belfast on 13 October.

What did we conclude?
There are 10 key issues where we’d like to see progress from Government. You need to read the report for all ten. In summary however, nature needs:
1. An inspiring vision – in Scotland, we have a route map to 2020, and that is only 5 years away. It’s good next step BUT we need a longer term and more ambitious vision, and one that truly inspires more than just the people in this room, and the people we work with to act now.
2. Full implementation and defence of current nature legislation – the Scottish Parliament has, over the last decade passed some excellent legislation – the Nature Conservation, Marine and Water Environment Acts to name a few – but none is implemented or enforced as vigorously as they might be and this is undermining efforts. What’s more, we, in Scotland, must play our part in defending legislation such as the EU Nature Directives from attacks by those with a de-regulatory agenda.
3. A network of well-managed special places: In Scotland, we have a network of designated sites. These need to be better understood and appreciated, better managed and more joined-up. A good start is the acknowledgement of this in the National Planning Framework and the 2020 Route Map, but this acknowledgement must be turned into delivery.
4. Species safeguarded and restored: Species are not just colourful characters, incidental to some wider ecosystem service. Instead they are the building blocks of our ecosystems. Without them, we have no services – no clean water, no food, no clean air. We need them and we need proper monitoring and targeted action for those that are of conservation concern. We have a list in the Scottish Biodiversity List– we need to act on that list.
5. Improved access to justice for nature: nature can’t “speak for itself”. We need to enable citizens, communities and representative NGOs to seek reviews of decisions by Government and other state bodies whenever those decisions impact on the environment. This isn’t just about compliance with Aarhus (although that would also be true), it’s about an empowered public, who are connected with and appreciating nature.
6. Improved incentives for land managers: Sustainable and High Nature Value farming and forestry systems support biodiversity and people. We could have so much more in Scotland. With the right incentives, these systems could not only be more widespread but provide a genuine underpinning for the marketing of our “green, clean” produce. Without this approach, are we really as green and clean as we think we are?

Finally, while this report focuses on the action we need from Government, we recognise that while Government is crucial as the representative of the state, able pass/enforce legislation and/or allocate taxpayers’ resources, it needs to be supported by civil society. We have included pledges that we – as NGOs – will make our contributions to the joint effort.

We pledge to:
• Inspire
• Work with land mangers to make space for nature
• Work with government
• Give regular, scientifically robust updates on the State of Nature (there will be another one along soon)
• Support our citizen scientists
• Speak up for nature. Nature can’t do it but we can and we will.

We pledge to do all we can to ensure that Scotland’s nature is not forgotten, taken for granted or exploited.

What can you do?
• Have a look at the report.
• Talk to all of us behind it
• Work out what you can do
• Work out what others can do
• Remember: we are all in this together. Others have used that phrase and not really meant it. We really do mean it. We are all in this together.

After the quake?

Last November, I stayed in a tiny village, not far from what looks to have been the epicentre of the earthquake in Nepal last Saturday. The village of Gatlang, in the Langtang, is perched high above the valley floor, the houses crowded one above the other to take the tiniest amount of space on the steep hillsides. Around them, narrow strips of terraced fields fall away, bounded by dry stone walls and full, when we were there, of climbing beans. The maize had been harvested and was drying on the tops of the sheds and shelters that punctuated the fields. I wrote of my visit in a blog: Life in a rural village in Rasuwa district.

Gatlang village
Gatlang village

We stayed in a ‘home stay’ (like a dinner B&B), right in the centre of the village. This home stay, run by a remarkable young woman, was a small room in her house for tourists with a delicious evening meal – the usual dhal baht, followed with amazingly creamy home made curd yoghurt. An entrepreneur, Pasang is also a leading energy in a new village cooperative, the Himalayan Medicinal Plant Cooperative. She is one of the first farmers in Gatlang to grow medicinal plants, and she has started with chiraita (Swertia chirayita), a valuable high yielding seed with a multitude of medicinal uses. With the first harvest coming up at the end of November, she had got together with other young farmers, as they realised the need to market their produce together to gain better prices and a  stronger voice for the village farmers.

We had met Pasang the day before on the local bus between Shyaphrubesi and Chilime. An overcrowded bus journey, that was honestly one the worst of my life, but lightened up by meeting Pasang, and managing not to stand on a chicken. On hearing our interest in medicinal plants, she had invited us to stay with her and to meet the chair of the newly formed village cooperative, another young farmer named Gomba Chilling. Both are forward looking and innovative, looking to support their families and build a  future for the village. They knew that in order to gain a similar price for their herbs, as the next village down the valley, they needed to work together. They knew they needed to diversify their crops to include not just food for the year, but medicinal plants they could sell for an income. By choosing chiraita they could grow a valuable cash crop, on the field edges or in spare corners but they were still looking for more. Gomba had planted apple and nut trees and while we were there, invested in some yew seedlings, another cash crop for the medicinal plant trade and the production of taxol, used in the battle against cancer.

They were both inspirational. Working with what they had, expanding their horizons and looking forward to a diverse agriculture and an income source from tourists.

I don’t know how they are faring now. I hope those houses crowded together on the slopes have stood the test of earthquakes before and that their stone walls and shingle roofs are stable and solid. I don’t know how old the buildings are: built of ancient materials it’s difficult to judge how old they really are. The location of the village though, perched high above the valley bottom is old. The stupas lining the path into the villages are neglected, old and crumbling.

I hope they are OK. While I was there, Action Aid Nepal were just coming to the end of a child sponsorship project in Langtang and had local staff on the ground. Donate to them now if you can. These communities, perched high above the villages are resourceful because they have to be. Pasang showed just how resourceful they are. I admired her then but the help we could give now would go a long way with her foresight and vision.

Plantlife at 25: 25 years of plant conservation in Scotland

Plantlife is 25 years old this year. On 11 March, we celebrated with an event at Stirling Castle where I cast my eyes forward, looking for the end of the rainbow…

(c) Dominic Habron
(c) Dominic Habron

To quote Iris Murdoch: ‘people from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.’ It is the beauty and diversity of Scotland’s flowers that get my team and I to work every morning and give us the impetus to keep going.

Over the last 25 years we’ve have had our successes and we’ve faced our challenges. Plants are still the wallflowers at the biodiversity ball. Today, while attention and fashion shifts from species and habitats work to healthy ecosystems and ecosystem services, we still have a big job to do. And we see that job as providing clarity on conservation and providing inspiration to keep going and try something new. If we cast our eyes forward, what is tomorrow’s colour for conservation?

It’s not all about being green …. It’s actually an entire rainbow.

Plant conservation is all about colour. Conserving the colour in our countryside is how we put it. This means managing the full diversity of amazing and unique habitats we have here in Scotland.

So what’s making us see red?
Homogenisation and monotony. Scotland has such a wide variety of habitats and species in it. Our geographic location and our geology have bequeathed us with colour. Our Important Plant Areas (IPAs) show what we have: over the next few years, we want to see out IPAs cherished and protected. And outside of them, we want to see our farmland managed with nature in mind. We want to see support for high Nature Value Farming and Forestry and we want to see land managers being paid to deliver the public goods, we and the rest of the public want to see – more biodiversity, more plants and fungi across the country. Let’s make managing for wild plants a normal part of everyday farming.

Orange is the colour of joy:
Over the next 2 years, we will be rolling out our new HLF supported Celtic rainforest project in the west coast IPA, concentrating on Argyll and with our outdoor education centre partners getting school children out into our Celtic rainforest, taking up our new John Muir Trust Celtic Rainforest Discovery Award and dragging their parents out too. Let’s ensure every child in Scotland gets to sniff moss, make nettle string and draw in fungus ink.

The shaft of yellow:
We’re looking for funding for a new project to bring the generations together to enjoy wild plants and fungi and to learn from each other. Our volunteer flora guardians are generally older people with a great and building font of knowledge. Our children are increasingly isolated from nature. We want to bring these two forces together to build intergenerational relationships that cherish plants and fungi together, that learn and know more about their local plants and fungi and that inspire others to act to find out more and help us work to conserve them. Including politicians. Our ray of sunshine is building confidence in identifying and using wild plants.

The blue skies of vision:
This is where IPAs come in again: they show our vision of what can be achieved. We’ve been providing advice on managing the plants in IPAs since 2008 and we are focussing on promoting with our partners the roll out of landscape scale advice and action in the west coast Atlantic woodland and the Caledonian pinewoods and others.
We can continue to underpin this with our species advisory service, getting staff out to provide advice, provide demonstration days so land managers can see what can be achieved, can network and learn from each other and from specialist experts we can bring in.
In the next 15 years, we would like to have rolled out our IPA programme further so that landscapes scale projects are successfully operating in 4 more IPAs, reconnecting fragmented habitats, supporting a high diversity of plants species, drawing wildlife and people and inspiring communities and individuals in those areas to get involved on our vision for flower and fungi rich places.

The purple haze of Holyrood:
We want all our politicians to be signed up as species champions and for them to be able to use their species in all their policy work, to nature proof every legislation decision that is made in Holyrood.

So where is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
Our pot of gold is our support. Founder members, life members, partners, volunteers and supporters. Increasing support and increasing wider awareness of the importance of plants and fungi, ecologically as well as socially and economically, has 2 clear benefits:
It gives us more resources to do more stuff on the ground, working with others.  AND it gives us more political weight. It is a numbers game at Holyrood – the more people we have behind us saying plants and fungi matter to them, the stronger our voice is at Holyrood.

We want to do more for plants and fungi in Scotland. With your support, we can build a stronger future, not just for plants and fungi but for everything that depends on them.

Building a future for wild plants

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