Scottish Invertebrate Conservation Strategy

This strategy is the work of several non-governmental organisations, many individual specialists and the relevant statutory bodies. It represents the views of over 100 experts across a wide range of invertebrate groups and related interests.

At least 24,000 invertebrate species exist in Scotland. This is more than 12 times the number of all UK bird, mammal  and vascular plant species put together.

Five terrestrial invertebrate species and many more marine invertebrates are unique to Scotland. More than 1,400 are confined to Scotland within the UK. Many others have their UK populations centred in Scotland. More montane and boreal (north European) species exist in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK. Scotland is also the last stronghold for increasing numbers of invertebrate species that have become rare or extinct elsewhere. Over and above these species, unique variants and local adaptations characterise many populations of Scottish invertebrates.

Ecosystem services

Invertebrates are essential to the maintenance of healthy ecosystem functioning. They provide vital services including waste recycling and pollination, and form the basis of most food chains. Without invertebrates, vertebrate and plant life could not continue.

Economic impact

Invertebrates underpin many important resources. Major parts of Scotland’s rural and maritime economy depend directly or indirectly on invertebrates.

Lack of action

Only a handful of invertebrate species are currently benefiting from active conservation management. Many habitats and sites in Scotland are protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest however the invertebrate interest on these sites is often overlooked.

Increasing threats

In common with invertebrates across Europe, many Scottish species are declining. Major threats to Scottish invertebrates include habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, development pressures, widespread use of agrichemicals in modern farming and competition from non-native species.

Butterfly Conservation's role

The strategy has outlined 11 objectives, and Butterfly Conservation's progress in working towards the objectives will be posted here from time to time.

The work to produce this strategy was grant aided by Scottish Natural Heritage and co-ordinated by Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust.