East Dunbartonshire has four beauty spots designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) – and new analysis has revealed that 33 per cent of them are under threat.
A study of hundreds of SSSIs across Scotland has found one in three is in an unsatisfactory condition.
In East Dunbartonshire, there are four SSSIs with six important features within them.
Of these features, two were found to be in an unfavourable condition.
SSSI features found in an unfavourable condition are at Cadder Wilderness, whose woodland and grassland has the presence and changing extent of an invasive species, along with similar a lowland grassland at South Braes .
Cadder Wilderness was last assessed as far back as 2004 and South Braes in 2014.
The other local SSSIs – Sculliongour Limestone Quarry, Manse Burn, a fen meadow at South Braes and an inverterbrate assemblage at South Braes – were all found to be in a favourable condition.
Wildlife and nature charities branded the overall Scottish findings as “shocking” and have called for the protection and restoration of our natural environment to be top priority.
Paul de Zylva of Friends of the Earth, said: “It’s shocking that many top wildlife sites are in such poor condition.
“The failure to protect and restore these vital nature havens has been going on for far too long.”
“If we can’t even protect the jewels in the crown, it’s little wonder that nature is in such poor shape.”
Kate Jennings, the RSPB’s head of site conservation policy, added: “The current state of SSSIs is shocking.
“Many have not been assessed for years so the actual picture may in fact be worse.
“If our governments are serious about tackling the climate and nature emergencies we need a huge step change in action – now.”
However, Scottish Natural Heritage, the body that determines whether a site or feature is of special scientific interest, has stressed that many features assessed as unfavourable are showing signs of improvement.
It has recently announced an extra £2 million of Scottish Government funding to boost biodiversity.
SSSIs are protected areas for nature conservation.
Most are in private ownership, as part of estates, forests or farms.They are chosen by Scottish Natural Heritage because they are home to rare plant or animal species or important geographical features.
A site can have more than one feature of interest.
A spokesman for Scottish Natural Heritage said: “It’s encouraging that when we include those features that are assessed as unfavourable but on the road to recovery, then 82 per cent of features on Sites of Special Scientific Interest across Scotland are either doing well or projected to improve.
“To secure a nature-rich future for Scotland we must continue to address the significant challenges that nature faces.
“These include invasive species, overgrazing and climate change – and we are working closely with partners, farmers and landowners to help them manage sites in a way that tackles these issues.”
Get the full UK picture, here at https://www.kirkintilloch-herald.co.uk/interactive/nature-under-threat-across-UK