Caithness is a county rich in a variety of natural landscapes and habitats. There are hills, lochs, moorland, wetlands, species rich grassland, improved grassland, arable, deciduous and coniferous plantations, heathland, dunes and a coastline of dramatic cliffs. It is amazing how much nature has crammed into such a compact area.

Ben Griam Mor - Photo: Ben MacGregor

Scaraben - Photo: Ben MacGregor

These valuable and diverse assets are recognised by a number of European and National designations including the magnificent Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Protection Area or 'Flow Country', the Caithness Lochs Special Protection Area and the North Caithness Cliffs Special Protection Area.

The rich variety of habitats supports a huge diversity of flora and fauna, some of which are now becoming scarce in other parts of the United Kingdom.

The Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands, or 'Flow Country', cover about one million acres, approximately half the entire land area of Caithness and Sutherland, forming the largest single expanse of blanket bog anywhere in the world. They are a precious natural resource of great landscape value hosting a wide range of plant, bird and animal life.

In addition peat acts as a carbon sink and stores 3 to 3.5 times as much carbon dioxide as rain forests. Once destroyed by development it cannot be restored and should be treated as a non-renewable resource.

Flow Country - Photo: Ben MacGregor

Berriedale - Photo: Ben MacGregor

Puffins - Photo: Ben MacGregor

Fulmars - Photo: Ben MacGregor

Caithness supports a wide variety of birdlife both migratory and resident. The lochs and surrounding feeding areas host internationally important numbers of Icelandic geese and Whooper Swans. The importance of this is acknowledged by the lochs' designation as a Special Protection Area. Each of the wide range of habitats in the county provides ideal feeding and nesting sites for its own range of bird species. They form part of a diverse, finely balanced and interdependent food chain.

The destruction of the habitat by industrial wind farm developments and/or the disruption to any element of the food chain will change the whole ecosystem. Caithness wildlife and the environment will never be the same again if major wind farms go ahead.

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