Biodiversity Scotland’s landscapes, and the plants and creatures that make and live in them, are recognised around the world. The importance of the natural environment, in supplying fresh water, food, the biological diversity of micro-organisms – the soil microbes fundamental to growing crops and absorbing pollutants, the flora and fauna that bring about extensive benefits for health and medical sciences have been somewhat taken for granted by humans in the way that we now inhabit the world.

In the past, the symbiotic relationship between human life, nature and biodiversity was reflected in the way in which humans lived. Settlements would occur where richness in the local environment could support human life. The inhabitants also had an acute awareness of the fragility of these ecosystems that provide resources, nourishment and opportunities for manufacture and trade, and what it meant if that ecosystem was to fail.

It is often not immediately apparent just how much we depend on biodiversity in our daily lives, particularly for those living in urban environments. The importance of protecting biodiversity and creating the circumstances for it to thrive or regenerate where it has been lost.  Often instead, we see the built environment, the buildings we use, the roads, pavements and infrastructures as the ‘system’ most critical to support our way of life. We don’t see the profoundly negative impact of our way of life upon our natural heritage, development and growth has progressed often at the expense of biodiversity.

Good places are those where nature and biodiversity is respected and can thrive alongside human life and activity. The connection between people and places they live, the culture, history and uniqueness of a place, is a key strength of thriving places and also in the creation of sustainable and resilient communities. How we shape, adapt and develop our existing and new communities needs to reflect more closely the importance of the role of biodiversity in sustaining life and the importance of our biodiversity is part of our heritage in the same way as we recognise buildings, landmarks (both natural and man-made) to be.

NPF4 supports the development of sustainable places, town centres and 20 Minute Neighbourhoods, where people can live well locally, where the role of nature and our environment, biodiversity and living sustainably is a high priority and there is a clear understanding of how important local efforts are in contributing to mitigating the impacts of climate change. The protection, restoration and appreciation of nature is a means for building community resilience to the impacts of climate change. This resilience is more than just providing infrastructure to manage risks posed by climate change; climate adaptation strategies go hand in hand with placemaking initiatives, bringing benefits to  people and communities.