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Biodiversity

Oidhreacht Nádúrtha - Bithéagsúlacht

Natural Heritage - Biodiversity

Cad é bithéagsúlacht? / What is "biodiversity"?

Biodiversity or biological diversity is the variety of life on earth. It includes genetic diversity, and the diversity of habitats and species including plants and animals. The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and increasingly, by the influence of humans. This biodiversity is part of our natural heritage, and the heritage that we will pass on to our children.

Cén fáth a bhfuil bithéagsúlacht tábhachtach?/ Why is biodiversity important?

Biodiversity is part of the daily lives of every one of us, and we are also part of biodiversity. We are dependant on it, and responsible for it, for our survival. It is the source of all life, food, many raw materials, genetic resources for agriculture, medicine and development generally. Biodiversity loss matters. It matters for ethical, emotional, environmental and economic reasons.

Is biodiversity under threat? The earth's genetic, habitat and species diversity is under increasing threat. Many species of plant and animal are in decline or are endangered.

Cé atá freagrach as bithéagsúlacht a chaomhnú agus a chosaint? / Who is responsible for conserving and protecting biodiversity?

We all have a responsibility to protect biodiversity. In fact you may already be doing it and not realise you are! The Government, State Agencies, the Local Authorities, businesses, local communities, landowners, farmers and individuals can all play a role in protecting biodiversity.

Cad atá an rialtais ag déanamh faoi bithéagsúlacht?/ What is the Irish Government doing about biodiversity?

Internationally, governments have acknowledged the importance of biodiversity. The Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) was established in 1993 following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The CBD recognises that biodiversity should be conserved for reasons of ethics, economic benefit and human survival. Ireland has ratified, i.e agreed to be bound by, the CBD. As part of our obligations to implement the CBD, Ireland has produced a National Biodiversity Plan. The Plan sets out a framework through which Ireland aims to provide for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity over a five-year period.

Cad is féidir liomsa a dhéanamh?/ What can I do to protect and enhance biodiversity in Longford?

Here are some simple things that you can do to protect and enhance the biodiversity in your local area:

  • Learn about biodiversity by discovering the names of the trees, birds, plants and animals in your local area.
  • Experience biodiversity by visiting a local park, forest or public garden
  • Transform your garden into a haven for wildlife.
  • Plant native species
  • Native species create natural habitats for local wildlife.
  • Create wildlife habitats - plant perennials such as nectar producing flowers and berry bushes as food sources for birds, insects and small mammals

Further information on conserving and enhancing wildlife in your local area is available in a leaflet "Conserving and enhancing Wildlife in Towns and Villages - a Guide for Local Community Groups" available from the Heritage Officer, Longford County Council.

Avoid using chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides) in your garden.

Rather than use chemical fertilizers, make you own compost from fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grinds, tea bags, egg shells, leaves and grass clippings. Further information on composting, and composting bins, are available from the Environmental Awareness Officer, Longford County Council.

Grow heritage, or old fashioned varieties, of plants, fruits and vegetables and save seeds of native plants. This will help to preserve the genetic resources for the future.

Grow organic vegetables and fruits.

Teach your children about the habitats and species in your local area. Further information on biodiversity including information leaflets, children's leaflets, activity sheets and colour-in sheets contact ENFO, 17 St. Andrews Lane, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-8882001. Enfo

National Biodiversity Plan Published by the Government in 2002, it sets out a plan of action for the conservation of biological diversity within Ireland.