Reasons for Conserving Biodiversity

Reasons for Conserving Biodiversity:

Biodiversity is directly linked to what has become known as “Ecosystem Services”.  These are things essential to life; imagine not having air to breathe, water to drink or soil to grow crops in.  Ecosystem services are things like: production of oxygen, purification of air and water, flood prevention, climate regulation, soil formation, nutrient recycling, photosynthesis and natural pest and disease control.  All these and more we get for free but what if we had to put a price tag on them?  In 1996 it was calculated that the total value of Earth was £34 trillion, and even if we had all that money there is no way we could replace what we already have, but are now beginning to loose. Large scale removal of trees results in soil erosion and land slips; wetlands filter water and help prevent flooding as well as holding water which would otherwise run off into the sea and be lost.  Pesticide use can kill not only pests, but insects that are beneficial in controlling the pests and for pollinating plants.  Pesticide build up in humans is becoming a major issue.

"Everyone in the world depends completely on Earth's ecosystems and the services they provide, such as food, water, disease management, climate regulation, spiritual fulfillment, and aesthetic enjoyment. Over the past 50 years, humans have changed these ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber, and fuel. This transformation of the planet has contributed to substantial net gains in human well-being and economic development. But not all regions and groups of people have benefited from this process - in fact, many have been harmed. Moreover, the full costs associated with these gains are only now becoming apparent." (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Summary Report)


Plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) and upland oakwood habit action plan (HAP) areas

Maintain favourable condition status of ancient semi-natural woodland and HAP areas;

Restore XXha of PAWS and a further XXha of upland oakwood HAP;

All other PAWS to be managed to increase native species and deadwood habitat;

Seek funding for advancing further PAWS restoration and enhancing HAPS targets.
Lowland raised bog

Restore the 64ha at Moss of Cree through continued intervention to remove trees and re-wet the site;

Restore the Blood Moss raised bog complex with further active intervention if necessary, though monitoring is first priority;

Seek funding for further bog restoration projects.
•Sand dunes

Maintain geomorphology of the Torrs Warren sand dunes (in line with SSSI citation).
• Area meeting
SNH favourable condition status and restored criteria.
The highest quality habitat management and restoration of damaged sites.
• Deer management
The District deer management plan (and feral goat plan) is designed to protect wildlife habitats and growing trees.
The plan is also geared to the conservation of the deer and as habitat recovery advances deer numbers will be permitted to rise gently, subject to monitoring
• Successful natural regeneration of native trees and shrubs
10,000ha of native woodland.
• Habitat networks
(see Appendix ... for the District native woodland, and mountain and moorland habitat
Black grouse surveys.
1,000ha of successful moorland
Galloway Forest District Strategic Plan
Page 53
We are committed to establish a further 3,000ha (and aspire to establish a further 6,000ha) of native woodland in the District by 2025.
We plan to define favourable condition status for moorland fringe and achieve 1,000ha comfortably progressing to this condition by 2025.
Establish a 10ha timberline scrub demonstration in the moorland fringe on the Merrick hill
path by 2009 (Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)-assisted project).
fringe and 10,000ha of native woodland.
Designated sites
All sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) subject to management plans agreed with SNH
All SSSIs to reach favourable condition by 2012 (unless beyond FCS control).
Area meeting
SNH favourable condition status.
100% favourable condition status
A new natural nature reserve (NNR) base on the Merrick and Cairnsmore.
Priority species
The District conservation plan details a work programme for priority species including:
Black grouse:

working with RSPB on a landscape scale monitoring and research project;

creating 10ha of quality black grouse habitat (HLF-assisted) along the Gala lane near Loch Doon;

moorland swiping along forest edges to improve habitat.


working in partnership with Cree Valley Community Woodland Trust and SNH in
collecting local juniper seed to create nursery stock plants for future planting in
moorland fringe areas in the District.

Red squirrel:

the Galloway Red Squirrel Stronghold area has been identified;
we are not controlling grey squirrels at present.

plan work programme.
Specific monitoring.
The national forest estate is increasingly seen as a haven for priority species that thrive under our management.
Galloway Forest District Strategic Plan
Page 54
Arctic char:

working in partnership with the Fish Conservation Centre and Galloway Fisheries Trust, we are considering the reintroduction of char to Loch Grannoch and/or Loch Clatteringshaws.

Azure hawker dragonfly:

maintaining suitable habitat in scrub near Silver Flowe.

Barn owl:

maintaining over 100 barn owl boxes and will continue to intensively monitor the barn owl sites in the Cree Valley.


continuing our bat box work.


continuing to feed golden eagles in winter to improve their breeding condition until the District population expands from two to three pairs.

Freshwater pearl mussel:

We are seeking advice on their conservation.


maintaining open area for breeding and feeding at the management areas established at the Bennan and Lauriston.


working with Galloway Fisheries Trust on the Atlantic salmon project, based on the Bladnoch SAC.


extinct in southern Scotland and now subject to conservation project focused on two lochs in the District.

Galloway Forest District Strategic Plan
Page 55

Species threats

SNH will lead with any programmes to control invasive animals, e.g. grey squirrel or signal crayfish;

the District will take the lead in planning and delivering control plans for invasive plants, e.g. rhododendron and Japanese knotweed.