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Biodiversity & Sustainability

Biodiversity refers to all aspects of nature in the living world, including any species on the planet: the amount of genetic variation that exists within them,  the diversity of communities in an ecosystem, and the rich range of landscapes on the planet.

It can come under threat through habitat destruction, the appearence of invasive species, pollution, or overharvesting of natural resources. Each one of us can play a part in preserving this precious asset.

Biodiversity in Ireland

Ireland is home to approximately 815 species of flowering plants and about 80 native ferns, over 700 mosses and liverworts, 3,500 fungi, over 1,000 lichens and 1,400 algae.

There are 32 terrestrial mammals, including ten bat species and two seals. 24 whales and dolphins have been observed in Irish waters, while some 425 bird species have been recorded. About half of them breed here, and the Red Grouse, Irish Jay, Dipper and Coal Tit are unique to Ireland.

The Viviparous Lizard is Ireland’s only land reptile. It has been joined by the Slow Worm, which has been recently introduced to the Burren. We have three amphibians: the Smooth Newt, Common Frog, and Natterjack Toad. Twenty-seven freshwater fish species are found in our lakes and rivers.

Many thousands of invertebrates live in the island, the most famous of which is the Kerry Slug, Geomalacus maculosus.

National Biodiversity Data Centre

The National Biodiversity Data Centre is an initiative of the Heritage Council. It is funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the Heritage Council. Its website contains a wealth of useful and fascinating resources. We can guarantee they will provide lots of ideas for projects to keep children, and adults too, entertained for many hours, if not weeks.

Some of our favourites are:

Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for environmental research development, monitoring, licensing and regulation as well as the enforcement of environmental law in Ireland. The EPA’s current Research Programme 2014–2020 provides funding under three pillars – Sustainability, Climate and Water.

Under its  National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP), the EPA funds the  Stop Food Waste initiative since 2009. The programme works with householders, communities, schools, local authorities (through the Local Authority Prevention Network (LAPN)), Tidy Towns groupsIrish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) and businesses, providing comprehensive information about the food we waste and how it can be prevented. As there will always be some unavoidable food waste, it also provides training and information on home composting. Their resources are invaluable and a must read for everyone.

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