Ireland’s natural habitats finally get fully profiled

9 Dec 2015

Ireland has become the fifth country in Europe to create a full suite of biodiversity indicators, in an all-encompassing attempt to establish what the environment is like for multiple animal and plant species.

The National Biodiversity Indicators is an online resource that is trying, at the very least, to measure the health of Ireland’s nature.

The full suite of information gives an overview of species, habitats, health trends and Irish society’s attitude to, and knowledge of, its surroundings.

One of the many results of this compilation is the realisation that just 5pc of our 31,500 species have had their conservation status assessed – of those, one-fifth are considered ‘threatened’.

As of 2013, 91pc of Ireland’s habitats designated under EU law were of ‘inadequate’ or ‘bad’ status and, perhaps to be expected, there has been an increase of 183pc in the number of “high impact invasive alien species” introduced into Ireland since the 1960s.

It’s hoped that this resource can be used to better combine conservation efforts throughout the country, many of which could be significantly stronger should some joined-up thinking be initiated.

“As a society, the indicators show that we’re becoming more aware of the value of biodiversity and to take decisions that will support their conservation,” said Dr Tomás Murray from the National Biodiversity Research Centre.

“Unfortunately, these changes are happening too slowly to have any significant impact on our habitats and species.”

Robin image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic