Considerable and rapid change across all aspects of society is needed to stop further nature loss in Scotland, warns a new report.
Many of the direct causes of biodiversity loss are well-known such as pollution, climate change and land-use change.
Now a new report led by The James Hutton Institute, commissioned by NatureScot and co-authored by Glasgow Caledonian’s Dr Dominic Duckett, says that tackling these direct causes is not enough.
It points to factors which are indirectly contributing to nature loss in Scotland including our culture, education, demography, economy, political systems and technology.
Dr Duckett, lecturer in Risk Management at Glasgow Caledonian and co-author, said: “The transformation of natural ecosystems to agricultural systems paralleled with the expansion of human settlements are at the centre of the global decline in biodiversity.
“It is difficult to overstate the influence of ‘civilization’ including technological innovation, cultural drivers, political arrangements, demographic change and economic activity, to this catastrophic decline.
“Our report highlights contributory societal values and behaviours in the Scottish context. We hope this new research will strengthen calls for change and help arrest the impoverishment of our natural world.”
The report, entitled Understanding the Indirect Drivers of Biodiversity Loss in Scotland, identifies ways to reduce the impacts of some of these contributing factors and urges Government, public bodies, schools, businesses, individuals and communities to take action.
Recommendations include that policymakers and businesses move away from measuring performance based on levels of production and consumption and focus more on regenerative uses of the land and sea as part of a sustainable, circular economy.
Nick Halfhide, Director of Nature and Climate Change at NatureScot, added: “Tackling the underlying contributions to nature loss will be essential for a just transition to a net zero and nature-rich economy, both to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to increase resilience to the impacts of a changing climate.
“This important report from the James Hutton Institute points to the wider challenges we face in reconciling the great range of policies and actions to achieve a thriving future for our natural environment, economy and wellbeing.”