Wednesday 18 September 2019

Ireland's wildlife audit revealed

Ireland's scenic mountains, woodlands and waterways are home to more than 31,000 different species of flora and fauna.

A team of scientists found about 60pc of Ireland's biodiversity are invertebrates, with just one in ten being popular species such as plants, birds and mammals.

It is also estimated at least 7,000 kinds of algae and fungi have yet to be discovered across Ireland.

The audit is the first inventory of the country's vast biodiversity including habitats, vegetation, insects, fishes, reptiles, birds and land and marine mammals.

Dr Liam Lysaght, of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, maintained protecting Ireland's natural heritage was a building block to economic recovery - with goods and services provided by biodiversity contributing more than €2.6bn a year to the economy.

"Up until now the full extent of Ireland's biodiversity was unknown," he said.

"This report will, for the first time, allow us to accurately describe Ireland's biological resources and identify the knowledge gaps that exist.

"As the Irish economy seeks ways to revitalise itself, gaining a greater understanding of Ireland's biodiversity and protecting Ireland's natural capital needs to be one of the building blocks of our recovery."

A team of leading scientists from state bodies, NGOs and academic institutions were brought together last August to conduct the first ever audit of Ireland's natural wildlife.

The State of Knowledge report identified knowledge gaps in resources, including how to determining the risk of extinction.

Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs, said citizens have a duty to pass on the country's natural heritage in good shape to future generations.

"Protection of our biodiversity is not a luxury; it is a necessity as it sustains us through our food, provides us with building material and helps protect us from floods and climate change events," he said.

"This audit of Ireland's biological resource is a key piece of information in seeing where we are and what actions need to be taken into the future, especially in the context of the further analysis of the economic value of our biological resources."

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