Species on the Edge

Species on the Edge is an exciting new partnership project which will target around 40 species found in seven project areas on Scotland’s coasts and islands. Their habitats provide a last refuge for some of our most beautiful and unusual, but also most vulnerable, species. Many depend for their survival on less-intensively managed habitats created by traditional land management practices but changes to these, and an evolution of societal values, have resulted in a gradual disconnect between people and nature.

In order to improve the conservation fortunes of these species, the partners have come together, integrating knowledge and expertise at the level necessary to tackle the issues of biodiversity loss and engage and empower local communities to appreciate and care for the threatened species that share their coastal home.

Commencing in September 2020, this five-year project will begin with a one-year development phase, a newly appointed Senior Development Officer will lead the Trust’s work to improve and restore habitat, engage local communities and work with landowners to help them implement positive change for one of our most-declined bumblebee species, the Great Yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus).

This species is now restricted to a series of islands in the Inner and Outer Hebrides & Orkney, as well as coastal areas of Caithness and Sutherland on the Scottish mainland. Although it can still be reasonably abundant where it occurs, it still appears to be undergoing range contractions, and there are several areas where the habitat appears to be good but the bee is declining or absent.

In order to conserve the species, it is essential that the genetic health of the population is checked. Conservation actions and placement will vary significantly depending on whether populations of the species are limited by habitat availability or by genetic issues. Genetic sampling as part of the Species on the Edge project will help establish the current situation & hopefully reverse its decline.

Further information 


Led by NatureScot in partnership with Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Plantlife Scotland and RSPB Scotland.


The development phase is being funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Get involved

For more information about the project, please email enquiries@bumblebeeconservation.org

New Senior Development Officer details will be available soon.

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