Biodiversity is the variety of life. This simple phrase summarises everything that biodiversity is, but does not quite convey its depth or importance.
Biodiversity is all the different plants and animals, and the habitats where they live. The biodiversity of East Lothian includes over 4,000 species of invertebrate, over 300 species of bird, 28 species of mammal and 3 species of reptile. It also includes woodlands, the coast, ponds, moorland and so on.
Many species have become extremely rare over the last few decades with some species becoming extinct. Loss of habitats, pollution and climate change all affect plants and animals.
Over 150 government leaders have signed an international agreement to conserve biodiversity. This agreement is known as the Convention on Biological Diversity. A UK Biodiversity Action Plan has been produced, as well as a Scottish Biodiversity Strategy to tackle biodiversity issues across the country. Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) have also been written to help local wildlife.
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.
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.