Northern Ireland conservation: More than 100 species added to priority list

  • In Science
  • 2023-02-02 06:36:20Z
  • By BBC

More than 100 species have been added to a priority list in Northern Ireland.

The list covers species that need conservation because they are in decline, rare or of particular importance to the UK or Ireland.

Another 113 species have been added to the list, bringing the total number to 594, after its first update in more than a decade.

Additions include bog orchid, the kingfisher, Atlantic bluefin tuna and four types of bee.

The last list, which came out in 2010, featured 481 species, meaning the list has grown by more than a quarter.

It is published by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to meet the requirements of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act.

Experts and organisations are consulted to help inform reviewers about which species should be included.

They are then selected on the basis of the need for "conservation action as a priority due to the degree of their decline, rarity and importance in an all-Ireland and UK context", according to the DAERA website.

Each species group is scrutinised to assess the decline, risks and threats they face.

This is the first section of a staged review, with the new list due to come into effect later in February.

Experts from the wildlife organisation, Ulster Wildlife, were among those advising on the list.

The charity's director of nature, climate and environment, Dr Annika Clements, said the updated list was welcome, particularly as Northern Ireland's upcoming biodiversity strategy includes "the ambition to strengthen the duty of public bodies to protect and enhance biodiversity".

The strategy was due to be delivered in 2020. A study that same year ranked the region 12th worst for biodiversity loss out of 240 countries surveyed.

"We welcome the addition in particular of these marine species that are known to be of significant conservation concern and need action within Northern Ireland," Dr Clements added.

She said the addition of certain types of seaweed and algae were positive from the point of view of carbon being captured in seawater and coastal ecosystems, so potentially helping to reduce emissions.


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