Protected areas represent the very best of Scotland's landscapes, plants and animals, rocks, fossils and landforms. Their protection and management will help to ensure that they remain in good health for all to enjoy, both now and for future generations.
They may be designated to meet the needs of international directives and treaties, national legislation and policies or more local needs and interests.
Find out how protected areas work
Browse our A-Z list of designation types.
Many sites in Scotland are recognised as internationally important with a variety of different designations
Nationally important designations include areas for nature conservation, special landscapes and more...
Local natural heritage designations identify areas that are important to people, generally in a Council area.
Knowledge about the condition of protected areas is essential to maintain their value into the future
News about formal changes and proposals to protected areas (SSSI, Natura sites and NNR)
Nature conservation and other orders