Learn about why Scotland’s land is a fundamental asset. We grow food and timber on it; we build our houses and roads over it; much of our water filters through and is purified by it; it stores carbon; and it supports a range of habitats and species, some of which are internationally important.

Wetlands are found all over the country, with around 1,600 million tonnes of carbon stored in their peat soil.

By 2013, 18% of Scotland was covered by woodland – an increase from only 4.5% at the beginning of the 20th century. As a result of human influence and climate change, no woodlands in Scotland can be considered truly natural. Likewise, most of the uplands have been modified through grazing, drainage, forest planting and deposition of pollutants from the atmosphere, and near-natural habitats are now rare.

The Environmental Science and Biology ‘codes’ underneath each link refer to the Higher and National 5 Resource guides produced by Education Scotland. These can be accessed in the ‘Resources’ section of bit.ly/glowsciences (N.B. you will need a glow log in to access.)

The Geography ‘codes’ listed below will link to the SQA Unit Specifications.

Early & first level

 

Information

  • Breeding birds survey population trends for farmland bird species in Scotland - What has happened to bird populations on farmland over the past 20 years? These graphs show numbers have gone down for these three species? Why do you think that is? Click on the graphs to view a larger version.
  • Main agricultural causes of population change (PDF) - For teachers: Information for teachers about decline in farmland bird species.
  • Diagram of a wood – canopy, understory, field. Illustrates the differences between broadleaved and conifer - Different species of plants and animals live in different parts of woodlands. This picture shows the different layers in a wood. Click on the image to view a larger version.
  • Map of relative wildness throughout Scotland - How ‘wild’ is the land where you live? Do you have lots of woodland and areas that haven’t been changed by humans? This map shows very wild areas in dark green. Click on the map to view a larger version.
  • Royal Horticultural Society - School gardening - Find out more about the soil in your school rounds or local area with resources from the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • The James Hutton Institute - Games and resources - For teachers: Teacher resources from James Hutton Institute about soils and outdoor learning.

 

Have a go

Second, third, fourth & senior level

 

Data

  • Breeding birds survey population trends for four farmland bird species in Scotland - What has happened to bird populations on farmland over the past 20 years? These graphs show numbers have gone down for these three species? Why do you think that is? Click on the graphs above to view a larger version.
  • Native Woodland Survey of Scotland - What type of woodland tree species are in your local area? Use this site to find out. Click on the ‘Region details’ tab at the top and then choose your area from the menu on the left.
  • Agricultural area of Scotland by land use, June 2013 & Changes in cropping areas from 1938 to 2008 - What is farmland used for in Scotland? This pie chart show us how much farmland is used for grass, crops, woodland and grazing. What types of crops do we grow in Scotland? How has this changed over the past 70 years? This graphs shows the changes in wheat, barley and oats. Click on the image to view a larger version.
  • Changes in livestock numbers from 1945 to 2013 - What kinds of animals (livestock) do farmers in Scotland keep? How has this changed over the past 70 years? This graph shows the difference between cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. Click on the graph to view a larger version.
  • Waste from all sources - What different types of waste are produced by industry and households in your area? Click the ‘waste generated’ tab at the top and select your region. How does your region compare with the national average? What industry is causing the waste?

 

Maps

  • Map of relative wildness throughout Scotland - How ‘wild’ is the land where you live? Do you have lots of woodland and areas that haven’t been changed by humans? This map shows very wild areas in dark green. See the map above to view a larger version.
  • What type of woodland do you have in your area? - What type of woodland do you have in your area? Click on the map to view a larger version.
  • Main soil types in Scotland - There are many different types of soil across Scotland. What types of soil can be found near you? Click on the map to view a larger version.
    • Second level - Learning outcome: SOC 2-14a
  • National Soils Inventory - Use this map to find out about the soil in your area in more detail. Does this affect what you can grow in your area? Do farmers need to consider this?
  • Locations and extent of wetlands - Scottish Wetlands Inventory - Wetlands can be found across Scotland and are an important habitat for many species. Are there any wetlands near you? Use this map to find out more. Click on the map to view a larger version.
  • Listed buildings - There could be historic buildings near you that you might not know about. Use this map to find out about ‘listed buildings’ near you.
    • Second level - Learning outcome: SOC 2-10a 
    • Third & fourth level - Learning outcome: SOC 4-10b
  • Battlefields - Many battles have taken place throughout Scotland’s long history. Find out about where the battlefields can be found using this map.
  • Landfill sites - Are there landfill sites near you? How does this affect industry, the environment and people in your area?
  • Wetlands - Wetlands are an important part of Scotland’s environment. Find out if there are wetlands near you. Use this map (and zoom in to at least 1:250,000) to find out exactly what type of wetlands areas are near you and consider the impact of human activity on the wetlands.
  • Coal mining - Find out where coal mining took place in Scotland. Use this map to consider the implications for the environment.
  • Soils
    This map gives a simple overview of soil texture in your area. Use this to consider how this affects agriculture in your area.
  • Rocks - Use this map to find out about the rocks underneath Scotland. How does this affect the built environment in Scotland? How were these rocks formed? What does this tell us about the history of the land?
    • Third & fourth level - Learning outcome: SCN 3-17a
  • Waste sites - Are there landfill sites near you? How does this affect industry, the environment and people in your area?

 

Apps

  • Historic Environment Scotland - This app is your one-stop shop for information on Scotland’s iconic historic attractions. Packed with essential information and beautiful imagery for Historic Scotland’s 78 manned properties - including admission price, opening times, facilities and travel - this guide will help you research your next holiday or simply plan a day trip with the kids.
  • iGeology - iGeology is a free smartphone app that lets you take a geological map of Britain with you wherever you go to help you learn about the rocks beneath your feet. And with the phone's GPS, you'll know exactly where you are.
  • mySoil - mySoil gives you access to a comprehensive European soil properties map within a single app. Discover what lies beneath your feet and help us to build a community dataset by submitting your own soil information.
  • PlantTracker - Invasive non-native plant species are a threat to native wildlife in the UK. Help us track them down using PlantTracker. The Environment Agency, the Nature Locator team at the University of Bristol and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have joined forces to help combat the spread of the UK’s most problematic invasive, non-native plant species.
  • iEnviroWatch - iEnviroWatch allows you to visualise and query environmental information at your local geographical location or geographical area of your interest. Environmental information services are published by the European Environment Agency.

 

Surveys

 

Resources


Adobe Acrobat Reader is the free, trusted leader for reliably viewing, annotating and signing PDFs.
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader