Policymakers need to take decisive action on reducing biodiversity loss
Two years have passed since the Dáil announced a climate and biodiversity emergency and highlighted the impact on the Irish biodiversity. Pádraic Fogarty of the Irish Wildlife Trust informed legislators that immediate actions were needed to deliver clear solutions, to focus on carbon reduction and the contribution enhanced biodiversity can have on our planet.
Legislators play a vital role in tackling the biodiversity crisis. The positive news is there are solutions. This includes better farming methods, eliminating overfishing and creating managed marine protected areas, reintroduction of new species, rewilding rivers enabling restoration of the forests and peatlands.
Industry experts stress that subsidies that support the destruction of nature must be removed and regulations need to be capable of addressing the current challenges we face. Fogarty highlights that nature restoration is effective climate action, sustainable bogs, farmlands and water sources all sequester carbon. It also generates better employment, diversifies economic opportunities and strengthens communities.
Native Forests in Ireland
The native forests of Ireland have declined considerably to approximately 2% of the total land area across the nation. There has been a significant decline in biodiversity across Ireland yet healthy ecosystems are critical to food production, the availability of clean water and vital to climate stability, as well as social impacts on our mental and physical health.
Legislators today have the power to implement key decisions that will shape the future of Ireland. Nature represents a critical element of protection against natural hazards. Without a rich and biodiverse landscape, the culture and recreational opportunities diminish.
Biodiversity and emissions reduction
Biodiversity is vital to reducing emissions in slowing the release of carbon and adapting to the impacts of climate disruption. In Ireland, the healthy peatlands represent ideal carbon sinks. Peatlands cover approximately 3% of the Earth’s land surface but store nearly double the amount of carbon in all forests, which cover around 10 times the area. Peatlands hold carbon and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere. They also prevent flooding, provide ideal habitats for several plants and animal species.
Diversity is regarded as vital to adapting towards a climate-focused future, particularly in regards to agriculture. This requires restoring our ecosystem to a healthier and sustainable level. Policies need to be reconsidered and support positive action such as restoring biodiversity on farmland that isn’t cultivated.
We need to focus more on biodiversity across the entire country and include as many groups and communities as possible. Tackling species decline requires a comprehensive and strategic approach, as well as clarity and consistency with policies relating to biodiversity.