Flora and Fauna of Scotland
Scotland enjoys a diversity of environments, incorporating deciduous and coniferous woodlands, moorland, montane, estuarine, freshwater, oceanic and tundra landscapes.
About 14% of Scotland is wooded, much of it in forestry plantations, but before humans cleared the land it supported much larger boreal Caledonian and broad-leaved forests. Significant remnants of the native Scots Pine woodlands can be found.
The UK's tallest tree is a grand fir planted beside Loch Fyne, Argyll in the 1870s, and the Fortingall Yew may be 5,000 years old and is probably the oldest living thing in Europe.
Seventeen per cent of Scotland is covered by heather moorland and peatland. Caithness and Sutherland have one of the world's largest and most intact areas of blanket bog, which supports a distinctive wildlife community.
In recent years various animals have been re-introduced, including the white-tailed sea eagle in 1975, the red kite in the 1980s, and more recently there have been experimental projects involving the beaver and wild boar.
Seventy-five per cent of Scotland's land is classed as agricultural (including some moorland) while urban areas account for around 3%. Scotland has more than 90% of the volume and 70% of the total surface area of fresh water in the United Kingdom. There are more than 30,000 freshwater lochs and 6,600 river systems.
Scotland's seas are among the most biologically productive in the world; it is estimated that the total number of Scottish marine species exceeds 40,000. The Darwin Mounds are an important area of deep sea cold water coral reefs discovered in 1998. Inland, nearly 400 genetically distinct populations of Atlantic Salmon live in Scottish rivers.
The coastline is 11,803 kilometres (7,334 mi) long, and the number of islands with terrestrial vegetation is nearly 800, about 600 of them lying off the west coast. There are important populations of seals and internationally significant nesting grounds for a variety of seabirds such as gannets. The golden eagle is something of a national icon.