VISITORS have been urged to take care in Scotland's forests this summer to protect their biodiversity. 

With more than 300 destinations, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) chiefs are expecting thousands of guests during the holiday season.

However, access needs to be balanced with habitat protection, FLS officials say, and minimising the potential impact that large numbers of people can have on biodiversity.

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FLS environment manager, Colin Edwards, said: “As the largest provider of outdoor recreation in Scotland, we annually welcome millions of visits from people looking to enjoy some of the best locations in the country.

“However, the land that we manage is also home to many thousands of species, some of which are rare or threatened with extinction.

“These can range from plants such as Twinflower, butterflies such as the pearl bordered fritillary, animals such as red squirrels and many species of ground nesting birds, such as Capercaillie.

“Clearly not all of these species are found everywhere and we don’t expect that everyone  should know in detail where particular species are found.

“That’s why we’re simply asking everyone to be aware that the forests and land are there not just for our benefit and to behave appropriately and cause minimal disturbance, especially in spring and early summer when there are many young animals and birds in the forest."