Fife is fortunate to have a wealth of fantastic habitats, from its stunning coastline of cliffs and sand dunes, to the blustery heathland of the Lomond Hills. These habitats support a huge amount of wildlife. In fact, over 10,000 different species of plants and animals have been found in the kingdom. This tapestry of habitats, and the plants and animals that they support, together make up biodiversity- the rich variety of life on earth.
Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity plays a vital role in our everyday life. It sustains the ecosystems that provide us with food, fuel, clean water, health and wealth. For instance,
- the air we breathe is produced by plants.
- insects and fungi break down dead plants to produce soil.
- bacteria helps break down our waste.
- biodiversity provides us with the food we eat.
- it gives us the materials we use in our everyday lives, such as textiles and timber.
- many of the drugs we use to treat our illnesses with have their origins in biodiversity, such as the cardiac stimulant Digitoxin which comes from the common foxglove.
The threats that face biodiversity…and us
Each ecosystem is finely balanced, and if one or more species is lost, the function of the ecosystem can become disturbed. Sadly, we are losing biodiversity at an alarming rate due to human activities such as habitat destruction, pollution, population growth, over-consumption and introduced invasive species. Scientists estimate 150 to 200 species are lost every 24 hours!
What many of us don’t realise is that by damaging the biodiversity we rely upon, we are in fact harming ourselves. It is therefore in our interest to manage for biodiversity.
We can make a difference
We have to act urgently to protect biodiversity and safeguard our future. There are many simple ways to do this in your own home and garden, and we’ll give you some pointers in the following pages. You can also support two of our initiatives, the Fife Local Biodiversity Action Plan and the Fife Nature Records Centre.
- The Local Biodiversity Action Plan, or LBAP, identifies the most threatened species and habitats in Fife and sets out a series of projects to help protect them. These projects are delivered by organisations, community groups or volunteers.
- Fife Nature Records Centre gathers and manages biological data for the region, including a database of species sightings. This information is made available to planners and developers, conservation organisations, academics, local naturalists and the general public to ensure Fife’s wildlife is being considered in all aspects of our decision-making.
Johanna Willi, Biodiversity Co-ordinator
Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 53 63 Contact Johanna Willi online
By Post: Rothesay House, Rothesay Place, Glenrothes, Fife, KY7 5PQ