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.
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.
Marine Consultation Areas are identified by Scottish Natural Heritage as deserving particular distinction in respect of the quality and sensitivity of the marine environment within them. Their selection encourages coastal communities and management bodies to be aware of marine conservation issues in the area.
From 2010-2012 all known saltmarshes larger than 3ha were surveyed across the Scottish mainland and offshore islands, to compile the first detailed comprehensive national survey of this habitat in Scotland. All saltmarsh and brackish swamp was mapped using the National Vegetation Classification. All mapped areas were digitised to a 1:4,000 scale GIS database. The condition of each saltmarsh site visited was assessed. The primary aims of the Scottish Saltmarsh Survey (SSS) were to obtain information on the morphology, vegetation community structure and species found on saltmarsh sites above 3ha in area or 500m in linear extent.The survey was a joint project between Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).The saltmarsh survey was tendered in 2009 and awarded to NatureBureau Ltd, who began work on the project in 2010.Detailed report: http://www.snh.gov.uk/publications-data-and-research/publications/search-the-catalogue/publication-detail/?id=2404
The Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA's) scheme was first introduced in 1987. The ESA scheme was introduced in Scotland to help conserve specially designated areas of the countryside where the landscape, wildlife or historic interest is of particular importance and where these environmental features can be affected by farming operations. ESA's were designated under powers given to the Secretary of State in the Agriculture Act 1986. In addition Parliament approved individual Statutory Instruments which set out the terms and conditions for each designated area. There are 10 ESA's currently operating in Scotland
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are those areas of land and water (to the seaward limits of local authority areas or MLWS) that Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) considers to best represent our natural heritage - its diversity of plants, animals and habitats, rocks and landforms, or a combinations of such natural features. They are the essential building blocks of Scotland's protected areas for nature conservation. Many are also designated as Natura sites (Special Protection Areas or Special Areas of Conservation)..The national network of SSSIs in Scotland forms part of the wider GB series. SNH designates SSSIs under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. SSSIs are protected by law. It is an offence for any person to intentionally or recklessly damage the protected natural features of an SSSI. SSSIs were first designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The majority of these were later re-notified under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. All 1981 Act SSSI designations are carried forward, and all new SSSI designations are now made, under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004.
SPAs in Scotland are classified by Scottish Ministers . These are areas of the most important habitat for rare (listed on Annex I to the Directive) and regularly occurring migratory birds within the European Union. SPAs are classified under the EC Birds Directive and together with SACs, form the Natura 2000 network. Proposed Special Protection Areas (pSPA) may be subject to change prior to classification. Note: Orkney Inshore Waters is at draft SPA status and is not afforded policy protection. Please contact SNH for further information