National Biodiversity Week to kick off amid worrying species decline

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May 16th, 2019

This weekend marks the start of National Biodiversity Week 2019 to celebrate Irish biodiversity and highlight how crucial it is that we protect it.

Organised by the Irish Environmental Network, over 50 free events will take place across the country over the course of nine days. The week will kick off in Co Mayo tomorrow, with Feasta’s Food for Thought event to explore how to secure food supply in ecological uncertainty.

This comes at a time when a new watershed report has revealed that we are at risk of losing over one million plant and animal species to extinction.

The report estimates that 10 per cent of insect species are threatened, with at least 680 vertebrate species driven to extinction since the 16th century.

Professor Sandra Díaz co-chair of the assessment said that the diversity within species, between species and ecosystems as well as “many fundamental contributions we derive from nature’’ are declining rapidly.

In Ireland, crops pollinated by insects have an estimated value of at least €53 million.  Irish crops such as apples, strawberries, tomatoes, and oilseed rape and approximately three quarters of our wild plants rely on insect pollination.

Intensification of farming practices have resulted in an increase in the use of fertilizers and pesticides, a decline in areas of stubble during the winter, reduced rotational farming, silage production rather than hay, and a loss of non-crop habitats

Bees, bumblebees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects have suffered huge declines in recent decades, with many now at risk of extinction.

As it stands, 30 per cent of the 97 Irish wild bee species are at risk of being extinct by 2030. As well as this, 10 of the 37 birds on the Red List Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland are farmland birds, including the Yellowhammer, Curlew, and Barn Owl.

To highlight this issue and promote the conservation of birds, bees, bats and other species National Biodiversity Week have organised a number of events.

See below for more details:

Belcarra Bat Talk and Walk – May 20th

This event is an indoor talk followed by a walk and listen to bats in the Belcarra area Co. Mayo.

This event is family friendly but children must be accompanied by an adult.

Appropriate footwear and outdoor clothing is advised.

Creating a Bee-Tastic Wildlife Garden – May 19th

This event is run by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council and aims to show you how to create your own bee friendly garden!

A family friendly event, enjoy an afternoon talk and exploration of the wildlife gardens at the Bog of Allen Nature centre.

May is all a Flutter – May 25

This event hosted by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council is designed to allow people to experience the variety of butterflies that we have in Ireland.

Meeting at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre at 1pm, the walk will lead to Lulymore West Bog – the terrain is rough so sturdy walking shoes are advised!

By Marianne Foody  

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