Water Catchment Area
The hinterland to the Moray Firth comprises the catchment areas of many river systems, which feed into the Firth and inter-relate with it. Some key species, like the salmon and sea trout, inhabit both and the waters that flow into the Firth contribute to its fertility and also its pollution. It is a closely integrated system. As such, the management of the ecosystems and landuse of the wider catchment area is as important for the Firth as are those of the marine area.
Much of the area comprises well-drained and rich soils, which have long been intensively farmed. The matrix of landuse also contains significant areas of planted forestry and natural woodlands, especially along rivers. Much of the area rises, beyond the coastal strip, into uplands which comprise heathland, peatbog and rocky habitats. The area is therefore very diverse, and this is reflected in its wildlife. This diversity is the reason that the Moray Firth is especially valuable ecologically.