Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are ‘special’ because of their plants, animals or habitats, rocks or landforms, or a combination of such natural features.
Scottish Natural Heritage designates SSSIs to protect the best of Scotland’s natural heritage. They make sure that decision-makers, managers of land, their advisors, planning authorities and other public bodies, are aware SSSIs when considering changes in land-use or other activities which might affect them.
Scottish Natural Heritage chooses sites carefully. They carry out detailed surveys and look at published scientific criteria to make their decisions. SSSIs can include land, freshwater, and sea water down to the low water mark.