EU Habitats Directive
In order to ensure the survival of Europe’s most endangered and vulnerable species, EU governments adopted the Habitats Directive in 1992. It protects around 1200 European species which are considered to be endangered, vulnerable, rare and/or endemic. Included in the Directive are mammals, reptiles, fish, crustaceans, insects, molluscs, bivalves and plants. The protection provisions for these species are designed to ensure that the species listed in the Habitats Directive reach a favourable conservation status within the EU. (from Species protected under the Habitats Directive - European Commission)
The main aim of the Habitats Directive is to promote the maintenance of biodiversity by requiring Member States to take measures to maintain or restore natural habitats and wild species listed on the Annexes to the Directive at a favourable conservation status, introducing robust protection for those habitats and species of European importance. In applying these measures Member States are required to take account of economic, social and cultural requirements, as well as regional and local characteristics. (from EC Habitats Directive - JNCC)
Role of SNH and LNHG
Scottish Natural Heritage has a legal duty of surveillance for all Habitats Directive species that occur in Scotland. (see UK Habitats Directive Surveillance Approach - JNCC) As such, SNH have asked us to ensure that LNHG members are aware of the importance of recording Habitats Directive species.
Types of Protection
Habitats Directive species are protected in various ways:
List of Species
Species assessments - JNCC gives a list of all the HD species which occur in Britain, together with the Annex in which they are listed. Some are listed in more than one Annex.
Summary of local interest species
Here is a short summary of some of the HD species of interest which might be seen in our area.
Margaritifera margaritifera - Freshwater Pearl Mussel. This occurs in Argyll, where it is severely threatened by pearl collectors. Any records will be treated as sensitive and the location not publicised.
Euphydryas aurinia - Marsh Fritillary butterfly. The great majority of Scottish populations are in Argyll.
Rana temporaria - Common Frog. This is very common and ubiquitous in our area, but all records are still welcome.
Fish - A number of fish are on the list, not likely to be seen unless you go fishing. Please have a look at the list if you do.
Marine Mammals - Just about all marine mammals are on the list, including Common and Grey Seals, Harbour Porpoise, Common and Bottlenose Dolphins, and many other less common species.
Land Mammals - All bats are on the list. Also Otter, Wild Cat, Mountain Hare, Pine Marten and Polecat.
Bryophytes - all Sphagnum species are on the list. The only other bryophtyes on the list that are currently known from our area are the widespread and conspicuous Large White-moss (Leucobryum glaucum) and Slender Green Feather-moss (Hamatocaulis vernicosus) which occurs at Ardmaddy. The minute but remarkable "Bug on a stick" moss, Buxbaumia viridis, is mainly found in north and east Scotland but is worth looking for on rotting logs in damp woods in winter.
Lichens - The only HD lichens are all the species in subgenus Cladina of the genus Cladonia. These are the "reindeer lichens" that grow on heaths and hills. Of these, Cladonia portentosa is common, well-known and easily recognised. I'm not familiar with the others but will look out for them.
Clubmosses - all except Lesser Clubmoss (Selaginella selaginoides) are on the list. Fir Clubmoss, Stagshorn Clubmoss and Alpine Clubmoss are familiar to many of our members, and the rare Marsh Clubmoss, which grows on Rannoch Moor, is also included.
Ferns - The only HD species is Killarney Fern. The gametophyte of this fern occurs in a few caves in our area. The sporophyte occurred in the past but has not been seen in the last 100 years. If rediscovered it would be a find of major significance.
Flowering Plants - The only ones that might be looked for in our area are Slender Naiad, which is known from Mull, Islay and Kintyre, and two species which are native to Britain but thought to be introduced in our area: Butcher's Broom and Floating Water-plantain. But please report them anyway!
Remember you can view the full list here.
You can send in any sightings of HD species (or of non-HD species come to that) using the form below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details if you prefer. If you are not sure of the identity of your species, please send a photo to email@example.com, or put one on the LNHG Facebook page.
If you have a number of sightings or records, you can send
them as an Excel spreadsheet, or sync them if you use Mapmate, or any
other method that suits. It is no problem at all if your list
contains HD and non-HD species mixed together. Don't bother
sorting them, our database will do that.
By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy. Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.