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Scotland’s amazing wildlife and biodiversity is “thriving” on Scotland’s national forest estate, says Environment & Climate Change Minister, Stewart Stevenson.
This was the message Mr Stevenson gave when he launched a new Forestry Commission Scotland booklet “Variety is the spice of life”, which showcases the organisation’s conservation work across the country.
During a visit to the Kylerhea otter hide on Skye, Mr Stevenson said:
“Scotland is renowned for its stunning and dramatic landscapes – and for the wealth of magnificent wildlife that thrives in the array of habitats that our landscapes – and seascape - offer.
“Thanks to careful and considered management by the Commission, our national woodlands and forests play their part, too, nurturing and sustaining a multitude of wonderful creatures and helping both common and rare species to flourish.
“Ahead of 2013 being celebrated as the 'Year of Natural Scotland', this attractive booklet gives an insight into the work that is being done to help conserve and enhance the amazing variety of species that can be found on our national forest estate.
“It’s a great contribution towards promoting wildlife tourism and it has been a great pleasure to come to Skye today and see some of these marvels for myself.”
The Kylerhea hide - which receives around 30,000 visitors per year - is probably one of the best places to see otters in the whole of the UK and is also a great place to view seabirds and at times seals and dolphins.
The work of the Commission to promote wildlife and biodiversity is vast ranging from helping to raise capercaillie numbers, protecting red squirrels, bringing rare butterflies back from the brink to establishing some of Scotland’s most iconic wooded landscapes.
An important and growing aspect of their work is to make wildlife more accessible for people to enjoy. Not only do these centres bring wildlife and visitors closer together, they are an important asset for supporting the tourism economy in rural areas.
The Commission works with a range of partners and volunteers to manage a network of other wildlife viewing centres around Scotland including: Mull Sea Eagle Watch; Huntly Peregrine Wildwatch and; the Tweed Valley and David Marshall Lodge osprey viewing centres.
The Commission has additionally been involved with SNH, Wild Scotland and Tourism Intelligence Scotland in the production of a new wildlife tourism guide aimed at helping Scottish tourism businesses explore opportunities for growth.
To see the publication visit www.forestry.gov.uk/biodiversityscotland#wildlife
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2. For news, events and recreation information log on to www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests. For Twitter: www.twitter.com/fcscotland
3. Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
4. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6507.