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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Sep 2019 right left

      
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Brackagh Moss Nature Reserve, near Portadown – Scrub Control

Sunday 8th September
Brackagh Moss Nature Reserve, near Portadown
Free

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CEDaR Training Course – Slugs and Snails

Saturday 14th September
Crom Estate

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A beach near Strangford, Co Down – Beachwatch

Sunday 22nd September
Strangford
Free

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity in Northern Ireland sits within a broader international context, notably the Convention on Biological Diversity which came into force over 20 years ago and its associated targets and the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.

Biodiversity

One of the aims of the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy (DoENI, 2014) was to halt biodiversity loss by 2016. A review conducted by the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Group (2009) reported that “progress has been made with the processes and mechanisms of halting biodiversity loss” but “there is little hard evidence that the deterioration of Northern Ireland’s biodiversity is actually slowing down”. This is supported by the State of the Environment report (Northern Ireland Environment Agency, 2013).

Pressures on biodiversity in Northern Ireland stem from multiple factors including climate change, land abandonment, infrastructure development, invasive species and agricultural intensification.

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Examples of invasive alien species include Japanese knotweed, floating pennywort and Zebra mussels.

To date the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has declared a total of 360 Areas of Special Scientific Interest, 6.7% of the NI land mass.

Some habitats are particularly vulnerable to climate change; the risks are clearest for montane habitats (to increased temperature), wetlands (to changes in water availability) and coastal habitats (to sea–level rise).

There is strong evidence that climate change is already affecting UK biodiversity. Impacts are expected to increase as the magnitude of climate change increases.

There are currently 65 U.K. Priority Habitats, with 51 of these in Northern Ireland.

There are currently 481 Priority Species in Northern Ireland.

Since the 1950s, 41,000 hectares of countryside has been lost to urban development, with an unquantified loss of biodiversity.

The total land area of Northern Ireland is 14,160 km2 (1,416,000 ha). Approximately 6.6% of the land area of Northern Ireland is designated as ASSI for nature conservation, including earth science interest.

The rate of habitat and biodiversity loss has slowed and protection has increased with over 100,000 hectares declared as Areas of Special Scientific Interest.