Species Decline

The health of wildlife populations in Scotland is in an alarming state. Almost half (43%) of Scottish species are in decline, as illustrated in this infographic. The rate of decline in Scotland is steeper than in the UK as a whole, which has seen 38% of species decrease in abundance over the same 10-year period. While 36% of species populations in Scotland are shown to be increasing, the decline in such a large proportion of wildlife should be of concern. Such a rate of change will significantly impact the biodiversity of the nation if it continues over a longer period.

Click on the infographic to enlarge it.

species decline infographic

Species abundance


The State of Nature report analyses the abundance of terrestrial and freshwater species, indicating the health of biodiversity in terms of whether species populations are increasing, staying roughly the same, or decreasing.


In Scotland, the population abundance of 398 species was assessed in the report. Between 2010 and 2020, 172 species (43%) were found to be in moderate or strong decline, with 144 species (36%) shown to have a moderate or strong increase. The remaining 82 species (21%) showed little change. In comparison, for the UK as a whole, 38% of species were declining, 27% increasing, and 34% showing little change.


The decline in abundance may be due to pressures from intensive agriculture, overgrazing, overfishing, pollution, climate change, and invasive non-native species. These issues can damage our natural environment and degrade habitats, making it more difficult for species to survive. There are many projects and sources of funding to restore habitats and improve ecosystems, and there are many examples of nature-friendly management of land. However, the scale of decline of Scotland’s wildlife suggests that more needs to be done.



Chart design


The infographic shows each of the 398 species as an individual dot, coloured and grouped alongside the others according to the change in abundance. The slope of the two-tone background colour of the graphic, emphasises the large proportion of species that are in decline.



Source


Walton P. et.al. (2023). State of Nature, Scotland 2023. The State of Nature Partnership.


This infographic appeared in JONO Design e-news. The e-news is published once every couple of months and each issue contains a specially designed infographic.


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