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Clare County Library


Marine & Coastal Habitats




Limestone Habitats

Woodland, Trees and Hedgerows

Gardens and Parks

Buildings and Stone Walls


What is a Habitat?
The type of environment in which a plant or animal species or group of plant and animal species normally lives or occurs. A habitat can also be the characteristics of the soil, geology, water and other plants and animals that make it possible for certain species to occur there.

Examples of broad habitat types include woodland, freshwater or coastal habitats. More specific habitats include oak-ash-hazel woodlands, eroding upland rivers or marram sand dunes.

Most habitats in Ireland are not totally natural or wilderness. Many habitats are considered semi-natural as they have been altered by human activity. For example the vast majority of grasslands are grazed and mown, most deciduous woodlands are grazed and have been partially planted at some stage. Many rivers have been modified to reduce flooding, leading to the loss of flood plains.

Here are some examples of the variety of habitats which occur in County Clare. Some of these habitats are of international or national importance and others are locally important. Areas of international importance for habitats and species are mainly protected as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) or Special Protection Areas (SPAs). While areas of national importance are designated as Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). However only about 12% of land is designated in Ireland. Therefore the remainder of the countryside is also extremely valuable for biodiversity.