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Protected areas

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.

Marram grass and sand dunes at Tentsmuir NNR, Forth and Borders Area. ŠLorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Protected Areas A-Z

Browse our A-Z list of designation types.

Lochan and bogbean, South Uist, Western Isles Area. ŠLorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

International designations

Many sites in Scotland are recognised as internationally important with a variety of different designations

Summer.  Caledonian pines silhouetted against sunrise light on Loch Clair.  Beinn Eighe NNR. Wester Ross. ŠJohn MacPherson/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

National designations

Nationally important designations include areas for nature conservation, special landscapes and more...

Visitors at the SWT Aberlady Bay LNR, Forth and Borders Area. ŠLorne Gill. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Local designations

Local natural heritage designations identify areas that are important to people, generally in a Council area.

Phd research student from Aberdeen University and her field assistant surveying a quadrat in Glen Tilt. Tayside and Clackmannanshire Area. ŠLorne Gill/SNH For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Site condition monitoring

Knowledge about the condition of protected areas is essential to maintain their value into the future

Eelgrass (Zostera marina) - Š Paul Kay. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Notices and consultations

News about formal changes and proposals to protected areas (SSSI, Natura sites and NNR)

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Nature conservation and other orders

Nature conservation and other orders


Related Links

Grants and funding

Grants and funding

Supporting beneficial management activities

Scotland's trends

Scotland's trends

Find out more about how Scotland's protected areas and species are changing over time.



Last updated on Tuesday 23rd July 2013 at 12:18 PM. Click here to comment on this page