Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ireland's Biodiversity Recorded

The National Biodiversity Data Centre has just published a document outlining the state of knowledge of Ireland's biodiversity in 2010.

This impressive report outlines the breathe of knowledge about Ireland's flora and fauna, while at the same time, highlighting where gaps in this knowledge occur.

The importance of such work cannot be over emphasised, given that services provided by Ireland's biodiversity are estimated to contribute at least €2.6 billion per year to the Irish economy. This figure is arrived at, given the importance of biodiversity in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism industries, as well as the significant contributions towards clean air, water and productive, healthy soils.
Figure 1 (Click on the image to see a larger version; NBDC)

As the report authors point out: "as the Irish economy seeks ways to revitalise itself, gaining a greater understanding of Ireland's biodiversity and protecting Ireland's natural capital should be one of the building blocks of that recovery".

Ireland has 11,422 species of insect; 8000 non-insect invertebrates; 5500 species of fungi and 2328 different species of plant (see figure 1).
Figure 2 (Click on the image to see a larger version; NBDC)

Despite this high level of knowledge about Ireland's rich biodiversity, the NBDC estimate that about 25% of the country's species are yet to be recorded. Significantly, they estimate that up to 5,000 more species of Irish algae need to be recorded.

The report also indicates the threat of extinction of Irish species, with 23% of known species currently threatened, according to IUCN red list data (see figure 2).

You can read the report in full here.


Marie March 25, 2011 at 9:39 AM  

Hi Eoin, I have a copy of the report on my desk at work and it makes for very interesting reading. The images that accompany the report are wonderful too. As Dr Don Cotton states in this concluding remarks though while making lists and producing reports is a step in the right direction for us, but action is needed to protect our habitats and species if Ireland's biodiversity is to be conserved.

Anonymous March 25, 2011 at 10:14 AM  

Thanks for posting this - I'm going to start a thread on it on where I'm sure people will be interested.

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