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.
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.
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.
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.