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Caithness News Bulletins December 2003

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Biodiversity Index Biodiversity Action Plan Agenda 21
Focus on Caithness BIODIVERSITY

The Caithness Biodiversity Collection, a set of over 400 images of the wildlife, landscapes and land uses of Caithness, was launched last Friday, 5th December in the Waterlines Centre, Lybster.  The Collection represents a year's work by wildlife and landscape photographers Ken Crossan and Iain Sarjeant, and by underwater photographer Sue Scott.  After a short introduction, those present were treated to a slide show of a selection of the images and given a calendar that has been produced from the collection.

The project was managed by the Highland Biodiversity Project, with input from the Caithness Wildlife Tourism Project Group which comprises representatives from The Highland Council Ranger Service, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board, the Tourism & the Environment Forum and Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise.

Mary Legg, Highland Council Ranger and Group member, said: "The aim of the project is to enthuse Caithness folk about the wonderful environment we have on our doorsteps.  Working in this environment I am more privileged than most to seeing the county's beautiful sights and rare wildlife, but like the others on the Group I am enchanted with the photographs and I hope everyone will agree that this is a great resource for the tourist industry.  In addition, we have produced a very attractive calendar using these images, which we plan to circulate to tourist businesses within Caithness to raise awareness of the beauty and value of our wildlife and landscapes."

Janet Bromham, Highland Biodiversity Officer, said: "The Collection will be made available to anyone to use including community groups, businesses, organisations, agencies or individuals, as long as the images are not profited from directly.  The images will be accessible in both slide and digital formats, from Marina Finlayson, the Caithness East Ranger, Bruce Buildings, Sinclair Terrace, Wick (Tel: 01955 607758) or Ian Mitchell, Scottish Natural Heritage, Main Street, Golspie (Tel: 01408 633602).

"Copies of the calendar can be obtained from the Ranger Service offices in Dunnet or Wick, the CASE office in Thurso or the SNH office in Golspie.  Please note that as we do not wish to compete with other calendars of the area, we are limiting the distribution to one per household or business while stocks last.

"The final output from this project will be a set of posters for primary school children, which will be circulated to the schools early next year."

In 1992 the world's leaders signed up to Agenda 21, which promoted sustainable development.  Under the slogan of "think global, act local" governments across the world have been implementing the recommendations of Agenda 21.  The Caithness Biodiversity Action Plan will help deliver the local biodiversity elements of Agenda 21 on the ground.

Biodiversity is short for "biological diversity", and means "the variety of life".  Wildlife is important to us in many ways: for its contribution to our quality of life, for the production of food and raw materials, to tourism and for its own sake.  Scientists are now beginning to realise that wildlife also provides "life support" functions for the planet, cleansing the earth from our pollution and maintaining an equitable climate for life.

The Highland Biodiversity Project is sponsored by The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise and RSPB Scotland, and receives match funding from the Highlands & Islands Special Transitional Programme.