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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Feb 2018 right left

   

Snowdrop Strolls

Thursday 1st February
Rowallane Garden
Normal Admission, Members Free

02

Snowdrop Walks

Saturday 3rd February
Springhill, Moneymore
Normal Admission Members Free

Snowdrop Walks

Saturday 3rd February
The Argory, Moy
Normal Admission Members Free

Path Edging and Bird Count

Saturday 3rd February
Comber Greenway
Free

Pond Improvement

Sunday 4th February
Rea’s Wood Antrim
Free

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Rethinking Engagement – A Dialogue Approach

Wednesday 7th February
Holywell Diversecity Community Partnership Building, 10–12 Bishop St, Derry

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NI Science Festival 2018

Thursday 15th February
Various, see website for details
See website for details

Brexit, Climate and Energy Policy

Thursday 15th February
Arthur Cox, Ten Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2
Free

16

Nest Fest

Saturday 17th February
Springhill, Moneymore
Normal Admission, Members Free

Woodland walk at Breen Forest on Glenshesk Road

Saturday 17th February
Breen Forest on Glenshesk Road
Free

Scrub Clearance

Sunday 18th February
Slievenacloy Nature Reserve, Belfast Hills
Free

19

Priorities for Transport Infrastructure in Northern Ireland

Tuesday 20th February
Radisson Blu Hotel, The Gasworks, 3 Cromac P lace, Ormeau Road, Belfast
See website for details

21

Shifting Shores Wave 2 seminar

Thursday 22nd February
Olympic Suite, Titanic Belfast

23

Grassroots Social Event in Belfast

Saturday 24th February
TBC
Free

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity refers to all living things and includes all animal and plant life, wildlife habitats and genetic variations within species.

Biodiversity

According to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency our biodiversity includes:

  • 22 land mammals, 2 species of seal and up to 12 species of whales and dolphins
  • Well over 200 bird species (not including sightings of rare and vagrant species)
  • 11 native species of freshwater fish, including the Pollan, not found anywhere else in Europe
  • Our sole reptile (the common lizard) and 2 amphibians (common frog and smooth newt)
  • Tens of thousands of marine and terrestrial invertebrates (including almost 500 species of butterflies and moths)
  • Around 1100 species of wild plants and trees
  • Countless mosses, ferns, algae, fungi and micro–organisms, and habitats

Yet like other parts of the World our biodiversity is under threat. In response, Government produced its first Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy (NIBS) in September 2002 and an interdepartmental Biodiversity Group was also established in 2004 to ensure co–ordination of the work of all departments and agencies in delivery of biodiversity recovery. 

NIEL provides a secretariat service to the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Group (NIBG). The role of NIBG is to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy and its associated action programmes. With representation from farming, fishing, industry, conservation and local authority sectors the group works to promote biodiversity in the community and reports on progress towards halting biodiversity loss every 3 years. In addition to providing the secretariat to NIBG, NIEL is also part of a cross–sectoral partnership actively contributing to the development of a new Biodiversity Strategy for Northern Ireland to ensure that we have a coherent and targeted strategy to address biodiversity loss.

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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, 104,861 acres, with an ambition to declare 440 by 2016.

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 total area of sea (below mean low water) which had been designated by the end of 2005 is estimated at 26,032 ha. This figure includes an area of open sea (approx. 1,095 ha) of Strangford Lough Marine Nature Reserve which is not covered by any other designation.

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.

Over two–thirds (708) of 1,031 features assessed within areas of special scientific interest in Northern Ireland are in a favourable condition.

Between 1994/95 and 2010/11 the total wetland bird population is estimated to have decreased by 23%. Coastal populations declined by 4% while freshwater populations declined by 54%.

Adult common seal populations at Strangford Lough have fluctuated over recent years, but the 2012 adult population of 202 was above the average for the last ten years (199). The highest population recorded at Strangford Lough in the last ten years (288) was recorded in 2003.