The national nature reserves (NNRs) of Scotland are areas of land or water designated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as containing habitats and species of national importance. National nature reserves can be owned by public, private, community or voluntary organisations but must be managed to conserve their important habitats and species, as well as providing opportunities for the public to enjoy and engage with nature. There are currently 43 NNRs in Scotland, which cover 154,250 hectares (1,542.5 km2), or less than 1.5% of the land area of Scotland. They range in size from Corrieshalloch Gorge at 7 ha to Mar Lodge Estate, which covers 29,324 ha.
National nature reserve status is an accolade awarded to the best nature reserves in Scotland, and the selected sites provide examples of nationally or internationally important species and habitats. NNRs are intended to showcase Scotland's nature, and as well as being well managed for wildlife they must be managed to provide opportunities for the public to visit and enjoy them. NNRs therefore generally have facilities such as visitor centres and trails to allow visitors to explore and understand the habitats or wildlife they contain.
Most NNRs in Scotland are also designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Many also form part of the Natura 2000 network, which covers Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation. Additionally, some of the NNRs are designated as Ramsar sites.
National nature reserves were first created under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. In 1996 SNH undertook a review of NNR policy that took account of the availability of other designations conferring legal protection, such as site of special scientific interest, special protection area and special area of conservation. It was determined that NNR should possess four attributes:
Additionally, it was determined that NNRs should be managed for at least one of three purposes:
Between 2000 and 2003 the existing NNRs were reviewed against these criteria. Prior to 2004 there were 73 national nature reserves in Scotland, however a number have since been de-designated. New NNRs have also been designated, such as the National Trust for Scotland's Glen Coe and Mar Lodge properties, which were both designated NNRs in 2017.
Since 2012 governance of the NNR designation in Scotland has been through a partnership group, comprising representatives of existing reserve management organisations and community land groups, chaired by Scottish Natural Heritage. Scottish Natural Heritage remains responsible for the statutory declaration of national nature reserves.
Scottish Natural Heritage is responsible for designating NNRs in Scotland and for overseeing the maintenance and management of each reserve. The majority of NNRs are directly managed by SNH; however, some are managed by, or in co-operation with other bodies. The NNR partnership consists of nine bodies:
Details on the management of each reserve are shown in the table below.
Dinnet Oakwood is a Designated Special Area of Conservation located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is located approximately 9 miles from Aboyne and six miles from Ballater. The area is owned by Scottish Natural Heritage.National parks of Scotland
The national parks of Scotland are managed areas of outstanding landscape where some forms of development are restricted to preserve the landscape and natural environment. At present, Scotland has two national parks: Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, created in 2002, and the Cairngorms National Park, created in 2003.Unlike the national parks of many other countries, the national parks of Scotland are not areas of uninhabited land owned by the state. The majority of the land is in the ownership of private landowners (including conservation bodies such as the National Trust for Scotland), and people continue to live and work in the parks. Although the landscapes often appear "wild" in character, the land is not wilderness, as it has been worked by humans for thousands of years. Like their English and Welsh counterparts the national parks of Scotland are effectively "managed landscapes", and are classified as IUCN Category V Protected Landscapes because of this. National parks are only one of a number of designations used to protect and conserve the landscape and natural environment of Scotland.Public access to all land in Scotland is governed by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, which grants the public a right of responsible access to most land (and water) for activities such as walking, camping, cycling, canoeing, swimming and climbing; this right applies to land regardless of ownership or whether or not it is in a national park, providing it is exercised responsibly (as defined by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code).Site-specific art
Site-specific art is artwork created to exist in a certain place. Typically, the artist takes the location into account while planning and creating the artwork. Site-specific art is produced both by commercial artists, and independently, and can include some instances of work such as sculpture, stencil graffiti, rock balancing, and other art forms. Installations can be in urban areas, remote natural settings, or underwater.Staffa
Staffa (Scottish Gaelic: Stafa, pronounced [ˈs̪t̪afa]) from the Old Norse for stave or pillar island, is an island of the Inner Hebrides in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. The Vikings gave it this name as its columnar basalt reminded them of their houses, which were built from vertically placed tree-logs.Staffa lies about 10 kilometres (6 mi) west of the Isle of Mull. The area is 33 hectares (82 acres) and the highest point is 42 metres (138 ft) above sea level.
The island came to prominence in the late 18th century after a visit by Sir Joseph Banks. He and his fellow-travellers extolled the natural beauty of the basalt columns in general and of the island's main sea cavern, which Banks renamed 'Fingal's Cave'. Their visit was followed by those of many other prominent personalities throughout the next two centuries, including Queen Victoria and Felix Mendelssohn. The latter's Hebrides Overture brought further fame to the island, which was by then uninhabited. It is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.
National Nature Reserves of Scotland