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How are Natura sites managed?

Most Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in Scotland have been used by people in some way or another for many years and the sites often reflect the influence of these activities, either now or in the past. Usually designation as an SAC or SPA will not make a big difference to the way a site is managed, but sometimes changes are needed in order to protect the natural heritage interest or to prevent a site from deteriorating. Scottish Natural Heritage works with owners and occupiers of sites to make sure they are managed appropriately.  Sources of funding are available to help with this process, for example through the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) or through partnership projects under the European LIFE-Nature external site fund.  The Conservation of Atlantic Salmon in Scotland (CASS) LIFE project and the Capercaillie LIFE project external site are examples of work in Scotland supported by European LIFE-Nature funds.

Many Natura sites are also designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), while others may have their own specific positive Management Schemes.  Marine SACs (also known as European Marine Sites) have their own management arrangements which include advice packages drawn up under regulation 33 of the Habitats Regulations. It is likely that similar arrangements will be put into place for marine SPAs as they are classified.

It is important that we keep an eye on the condition of the protected features within Natura sites because this knowledge will inform ongoing management and ensure that the habitats and species of interest are properly maintained over the long term. Scottish Natural Heritage's Site Condition Monitoring  programme provides this information and also contributes to regular reporting on the UK's progress in implementing the European Habitats and Birds Directives.

Last updated on Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 11:50 AM. Click here to comment on this page