Scottish Natural Heritage has a lead role in protecting Scotland's biodiversity and we do this in a variety of different ways like protecting special areas, species and habitats through legislation. But there is a lot more biodiversity out there, beyond those relatively few protected sites and species, which we also have a duty to protect.
Biodiversity is simply the variety of life - all living things around us; the plants, animals, insects in our forests, mountains, rivers, seas, gardens and parks, right down to the things living in our soils. It is the living bank balance which supports all our lives and is vital for our survival. Biodiversity provides us with crucial resources like fresh air and clean water for our daily lives and because it is basically our life support system it is really important that we look after it properly. But that is no easy task and it needs the help of many different people throughout Scotland and the UK to achieve this.
Find out about progress towards halting biodiversity loss in Scotland's Wildlife - an assessment of biodiversity in 2010.
Sustaining the benefits of a healthy environment
Scotland's biodiversity is amazing. We can all help to keep it special by taking a few simple actions.
Scotland's biodiversity is a shared responsibility. SNH provides a leadership role in its care, but we cannot achieve this on our own.
These are species which would not naturally occur here and have been introduced sometimes causing major problems for our native species and habitats.
We can enrich biodiversity by bringing back species which have been lost to our countryside.
Soils and underlying rocks and landforms are important components of biodiversity. Find out about their importance here and in the section on geodiversity.
Find out more about the habitats and species which we believe to be marine nature conservation priorities in Scotland's seas.
There are lots of events in 2013, including Scotland's Nature Festival (18-26 May).