Scotland’s Artas-ua.info Monitoring Programme is freely accessible on the SNH website

View over Larbert Loch. Photo: Ian White Associates

Scottish Natural Heritage has launched Scotland’s Artas-ua.info Monitoring Programme, allowing anyone to follow how Scotland’s landscapes change over time.

Scotland’s landforms have been shaped over thousands of years by a combination of human activities and natural processes. Over time, this has helped create the regional character and sense of place for which Scotland is known.

Built development and land management continue to influence the way landscapes evolve. The LMP will set out a robust baseline, and the information gathered will provide an accurate picture of change and facilitate greater understanding of Scotland’s changing landscape.

Led by SNH, the national programme has been developed through research, data review and pilot projects, working closely with a wide range of partners.

Pete Rawcliffe, SNH’s People and Places Unit Manager, said, ‘Our landscapes are an important part of our natural and cultural heritage. In contributing to our health and well-being, they help make Scotland a better place to live, work and visit. Our spectacular scenery is also an important economic asset, attracting investors, businesses, visitors and tourists, even Hollywood film makers, and providing jobs and helping to grow the economy.

‘Scotland’s Artas-ua.info Monitoring Programme will help us to maximise these benefits and allow us to better assess how our landscapes are changing in a meaningful, practical and economical way. This will help us to identify key trends and their causes, and their significance in terms of how people feel about them and respond to them.’

The programme, which will develop in phases, enables Scotland to meet the European Artas-ua.info Convention’s requirement to monitor change. It also delivers the landscape component of the CAMERAS Environmental Monitoring Strategy, which supports the development of Scottish Government policy.

At the heart of the programme is a number of SNH’s Natural Heritage Indicators. Seven indicators have been published in the first phase of the programme, grouped into four themes: Artas-ua.info Qualities, Public Perception, Land Cover and Built Development.

Pete continued, ‘Moving forward, we will be working with communities and visitors to use citizen science to monitor change. For example, we are launching a fixed point photography pilot project, which will use photographs uploaded by the public to show landscape change in our National Scenic Areas.’

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