Edinburgh Nature Network

Overview of project:

Edinburgh’s Nature Network focuses on creating a well-connected, healthy, resilient ecosystem that supports the city’s wildlife and residents.

Run as part of Edinburgh’s Thriving Green Spaces project, the Nature Network brings together a range of experts and city residents to create a unique and fully integrated map of habitats and ecosystem services (the benefits we receive from nature).

It combines data with local knowledge and practical, on-the-ground considerations and supports the Thriving Green Spaces 30-year strategy to transform Edinburgh’s parks, green spaces, rivers, lochs and shoreline, in line with Edinburgh’s 2050 City Vision.

How does the Network work?

Developed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, in collaboration with a group of over 40 multidisciplinary stakeholders, including government bodies, local authorities, eNGOs, academic institutions and volunteer groups, the Nature Network tool identifies opportunities for improving the environment that will provide multiple benefits for both people and wildlife.

It does this by highlighting the areas of the Edinburgh in need of action, and prioritises the environmental interventions, (such as tree planting)  and nature-based solutions, (like creating areas of wetland to hold water and reduce flooding) needed in each area.

It has already been piloted to guide improvements to outdoor spaces in Edinburgh including the creation of stepping-stone habitats for species to travel around the city, including pollinators and rare species such as the Northern Brown Argus butterfly, as well as more common species such as bats, foxes and badgers.

Through the Network, existing habitats are connected, so that animals can expand their range, and wildlife is made more resilient to climate change as the network allows species to move and adapt to changing conditions.

Through projects like this, it is hoped the Network will help to tackle the loss of biodiversity in the city by encouraging more plants and wildlife to flourish, and help the city adapt to some of the impacts of climate change, such as flooding.

Next Steps:

Opportunities for protecting and enhancing habitats and providing ecosystem services through nature-based solutions have been incorporated to the City of Edinburgh’s Local Development Plan through the site briefs for future housing development, and the Local Biodiversity Action Plan.

These opportunities are also being incorporated into the strategic plans of other stakeholder organisations, which will help to inform and influence the future development of Edinburgh to help deliver a cleaner, greener, healthier city for future generations.

Edinburgh’s Nature Networks is funded by the Future Parks Accelerator and is a partnership between City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Greenspace Scotland, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust, University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Green Spaces Forum.