Scotland’s rugged coast and islands are amongst the most biodiverse areas in the UK but many species are facing decline. 

Eight conservation organisations are hoping to reverse that fate with a new multi-million project named 'Species on the Edge'. 

The partnership programme celebrated its official launch at Logie Quarry near Tain on Saturday with a focus on just one of the 37 priority species which will be the target of the conservation work. 

The Small Blue butterfly, which breeds at Logie Quarry, was thrust into the spotlight following work from the Butterfly Conservation that prevented it from being lost from the site.

Scotland's coast and islands provide a last refuge for some of our most beautiful and unusual, but also most vulnerable, species. 

The State of Nature report in 2019 revealed a 49% decline of Scotland's species since 1970. 

With an overall investment of over £6.5million, will deliver four-and-a-half years of work addressing the impact of environmental change. 

It will target seven areas: the Outer Hebrides, the Inner Hebrides, Argyll and Lochaber, the East Coast, the North Coast, Orkney, the Solway coast, and Shetland. 

The Species on the Edge partners are Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, The Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, NatureScot, Plantlife and RSPB Scotland.

Nick Halfhide, NatureScot’s director of nature and climate change, welcomed the launch. 

"It is an excellent example of what can be achieved through working in partnership and, in the face of the biodiversity crisis, will help us to maximise efforts to secure a future for vulnerable species on Scotland’s coasts and islands," he said. 

Programme activity will include species survey and monitoring, habitat creation and restoration as well as training and education events. 

Its priority is to work with local communities to secure and improve the future for coastal and island species in Scotland.

READ MORE: ‘Wow factor’ restaurant for sale as Scottish seafood legend set to retire

A total of £4 million was secured by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Its director for Scotland Caroline Clark said: "Scotland’s coastline is dramatic, rugged, wild and beautiful. At the same time it is home to a fragile ecology, a natural heritage that we have a duty to protect.”

“I am delighted that thanks to National Lottery Players we are able to fund Species on the Edge to work with communities around Scotland’s coast and islands to safeguard and nurture some of our most vulnerable species.”

Species on the Edge’s priority species include amphibians, birds, bats, plants, butterflies, bumblebees and a number of other invertebrates.

Tracy Munro, Species on the Edge project officer for the Butterfly Conservation, said: “We were thrilled to launch this important project to the public at Logie Quarry where the Balnagown Estate is working with us to conserve habitat for the threatened Small Blue and Dingy Skipper butterflies.

"This project will make a tangible difference to so many species in Scotland and we’re proud and excited to begin alongside our partner organisations and volunteers.”