Many countries around the world have begun to adopt zonation systems as a strategic framework to guide their approach to the conservation, enhancement, understanding and use of the natural heritage. The natural heritage zonation approach adopted by SNH is intended to provide a logical framework, reflecting the diversity of Scotland's natural heritage, within which SNH can clearly and simply plan and execute its work. The zones are not, therefore, intended as a classification of the natural heritage but, rather as an operational tool which is founded in the natural heritage.
Nature Conservation Orders (NCOs) are made to protect any natural feature of land that is within (1) a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), (2) a European site or (3) other land of special interest, and where it is either being actively damaged or there is evidence that it is under threat of damage. The Orders set out certain prohibited operations and the land to which they apply.
Compiled and managed by Historic Environment Scotland, Canmore contains over 320,000 records and 1.3 million catalogue entries from all its survey and recording work, as well as from a wide range of other organisations, communities and individuals who are helping to enhance this national resource.
Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are designated by Scottish Ministers under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. Sites can be established for the purpose of demonstrating, or carrying out research on sustainable methods of marine management or exploitation in Scottish territorial waters. Their application is not restricted to nature conservation. Proposals will be developed and assessed according to a set of specific guidelines which will examine the scientific case for a MPA, the level of support and the reasons why a MPA is the most appropriate mechanism to use.
Seal haul-out sites are designated under section 117 of Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. Harassing a seal (intentionally or recklessly) at a haul-out site is an offence. “Haul-out site” means any place which the Scottish Ministers, after consulting the Natural Environment Research Council, by order designate as such for the purposes of this section.
SACs in Scotland are designated by Scottish Ministers under the EC Habitats Directive. They are areas which have been identified as best representing the range and variety within the European Union of habitats and (non-bird) species listed on Annexes I and II to the Directive. SACs in terrestrial areas and marine areas out to 12 nautical miles are afforded protection through the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended). Possible Special Areas of Conservation (pSAC) may be subject to change prior to submission.
The National Nature Reserve (NNR) Partnership awards the NNR accolade to the best places for people to see the best of Scotland’s nature. SNH formally declares the Partnership’s recommended places under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Biosphere Reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems promoting the conservation of biodiversity with sustainable use. Biosphere reserves serve to demonstrate integrated management of land, water and biodiversity.
Ramsar sites are classified to meet the UK's commitments under the Ramsar Convention. The UK's ratification also extends to its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. These sites comprise of globally important wetland areas and may extend into the marine environment.
LNRs are established in a variety of locations with very varied habitats and species. They must lie wholly within the area of jurisdiction of the local authority which declares them to be reserves. Prior to such declaration, the local authority must own or lease the site or obtain an agreement from the owner. LNRs are generally smaller than NNRs and closer to centres of population. They are frequently provided for the enjoyment and education of local people whose involvement in site management is encouraged.