The natural heritage of Loch Lomond: its importance in a national and international context.

Maitland, P.S., Adams, C. and Mitchell, J. (2001) The natural heritage of Loch Lomond: its importance in a national and international context. Scottish Geographical Journal, 116(3), pp. 118-196. (doi: 10.1080/00369220018737093)

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The dual character of Loch Lomond, its size as the largest area of fresh water in Great Britain and its diverse communities of plants and animals, make it of major importance locally, nationally and internationally and it will undoubtedly be the 'Jewel in the Crown' of the proposed Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The greatly contrasting bathymetry, with a long narrow deep northern trough and a broad shallow southern basin, is unique for any lake in Europe. This division, by the Highland Boundary Fault, is reflected also in the catchment and in the flora and fauna of the loch. Among the flora are found notable species such as the Scottish Dock (Fig. 1), Slender Rush, Elongated Sedge and two species of Waterworts. Rare invertebrates also occur in Loch Lomond: the worm Arcteonais lomondi was new to science when it was discovered there and named accordingly. Nineteen species of fish occur in Loch Lomond — the largest number in any Scottish loch. Fifteen are native and four introduced. Two are of particular importance -Powan (Fig. 2) and an unusual local race of River Lamprey. Other aquatic vertebrates of significance are the Greenland White-fronted Goose and the Otter. Within the Loch Lomond catchment there is a great variety of aquatic habitats that make a substantial contribution to the diversity and importance of the natural heritage of the area. Notable among these waters is the River Endrick. The importance of the loch itself has been recognised by the creation of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve, which itself was designated in 1976 as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. In spite of this, the loch's high amenity value — to tourists and for recreational purposes, as a fishery and a source of water supply — poses various threats and those with interests in tourism, camping, boat hire, cabin cruising, power boating, water skiing, canoeing, bathing, picnicking, natural history, angling, research, conservation and water supply are likely to be involved in conflicts of interests. Of particular concern are the number of alien plants and animals which have been introduced to the area; some of these are now well established. The problems concerned are likely to be resolved successfully only if some form of co-ordinated programme involving the integration of conservation and multi-purpose usage is developed for the loch and its catchment. Such a programme and its relevant monitoring must be one of the first tasks of the new National Park Authority.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Adams, Professor Colin
Authors: Maitland, P.S., Adams, C., and Mitchell, J.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Scottish Geographical Journal
Journal Abbr.:Scot. geog. j.
ISSN (Online):1751-665X

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