Why the dunes at Trump's Scottish golf course may lose their protected status

The sand dunes on the Trump International golf course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, are expected to lose their protected conservation designation, the government said Friday.

Scottish Natural Heritage said that about a third of the dunes on the Menie Estate have been damaged in the development of the course.

The remainder of the habitats in the area have been "significantly fragmented, and ecological processes disrupted," the agency said.

The dune habitat covers about 154 hectares, or about 0.6 square miles. Development has damaged about 15% of the area, and the conservation group is removing the area from the Foveran Links Site of Special Scientific Interest, pending a three-month consultation.

"The denotification of SSSIs is unusual, however in this case we have found there is no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special, natural features for which they were designated," Sally Thomas, director of people and nature for Scottish Natural Heritage, said in a news release.

The site is a "very high quality example" of a sand dune system typical of northeast Scotland, the agency said, important for the wide variety of coastal landforms and processes in the region.

The remaining Foveran Links site will be merged with the adjacent Sands of Forvie and Ythan Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest. Scottish Natural Heritage said.

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump owns two golf courses in Scotland: one in Aberdeen and another in Turnberry. The Aberdeen course, which opened in 2012, has been met with resistance from locals and environmentalists. Article link.