East Lothian Council

Biodiversity

Children experiencing biodiversity

Download the teaching guide.

Download the 2014 Biodiversity Report.

The East Lothian Biodiversity Action Plan and a teachers’ guide about wildlife and natural environment.

Put simply, biodiversity is the variety of life. This simple phrase summarises everything that biodiversity is, but does not quite convey its depth or importance.

Biodiversity describes all species that live on Earth, as well as all those that used to live on the planet. Biodiversity includes the habitats where these species live and the natural behaviours and interactions between different individuals, species and habitats.

We know of about 2.5 million species on the planet, but there could be 10 or even 100 million in total. Some of these species are extremely rare, or will have very specific ecological requirements. We know so little about our natural world and need to learn more.

Without biodiversity we would not have fresh water or productive soils.  Biodiversity pollinates flowers and provides us with food and colourful gardens.  It gives us timber and other raw materials to fuel industry and the economy.  Biodiversity provides us with fantastic landscapes and inspirational wildlife which makes us feel good and attracts thousands of visitors each year.  Collectively, these benefits are described as ecosystem services.  They are our life support system.

Biodiversity has declined due to habitat loss, pollution, development, agriculture and other changes to the countryside.  Many species that were common 40 years ago are now quite rare, and the decline continues.  If we do not do something to enhance biodiversity then we will continue to lose species and our countryside will be less able to support us.

Across the world biodiversity has been integrated into national and local policies to ensure that we sustain the natural world.  Whilst people strive for financial and social enrichment, we must not destroy the natural world in the process.

East Lothian Biodiversity is a partnership of local and national organisations that seeks to promote biodiversity across the county.  The Biodiversity Action Plan summarises wildlife in East Lothian and lists those habitats and species that are a priority for conservation action in the county. 

Education and public awareness are key aspects of the biodiversity process and so a teaching guide has been produced to encourage schools and other groups to use biodiversity as a study topic.  The guide is linked to the Curriculum for Excellence but it will be of interest to people who run community groups such as Cubs and Brownies.

If you have any queries about biodiversity in East Lothian, please contact the Biodiversity Officer on (01620) 827242.

Download the teaching guide.

Biodiversity Report

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004), all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities.

The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act (2011), further requires public bodies in Scotland to provide a publicly available report, every three years, on the actions which they have taken to meet this biodiversity duty.

Download the 2014 Biodiversity Report.

Biodiversity Action Plan and a teachers’ guide about wildlife and natural environment.

Telephone: 01620 827242

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.