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What has been done to protect biodiversity?

  • The National Biodiversity Plan was published by the government in 2002. It identifies actions to be under taken nationally for example surveys of important habitats and schemes to establish native woodlands.
  • The Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS) provides financial incentives for farmers to manage their farm in a way which is sensitive to biodiversity.
  • Areas which contain internationally important habitats and or species have been designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). Where internationally important birds occur areas are designated as Special Protection Area (SPA). These areas are protected from development which will have a negative effect on the habitats or species. Areas which are important nationally have been proposed as Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs) There are over 80 proposed NHAs in County Clare, about 40 of which are also SACs.
  • Some funding is available for land owners to manage or plant new areas of native woodland through the Native Woodland Scheme

What You Can Do

We all have a responsibility to conserve biodiversity. Government departments and bodies such as the County Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have a responsibility to develop policies and legislation to help conserve biodiversity. However, you as individuals also have a responsibility to conserve biodiversity at home, whether it is in your back garden or on your farmland.

You could:

  • Retain any existing habitats in your garden such as ponds, woodland, scrub and hedgerows.
    If no pond exists consider creating a garden or farm pond. Avoid steep sides to reduce the likelihood of hedgehogs and other animals drowning and to encourage greater plant diversity.
  • Put up bird and bat boxes.
  • When planting trees, hedgerows and woodlands, use native tree and shrub species.
  • Only cut hedgerows between the beginning of September and the end of February. It is illegal to cut them from March to August.
  • Allow hedgerows to become bushy and wide.
  • Encourage wildflowers in lawns and grassy areas. Do not use artificial fertiliser and leave some areas of grass unmown around edges or in corners. Manage some areas as meadows, only cutting once a year in August.
  • Do not use pesticides, herbicides and slug pellets on your farm or in your garden.
  • Do not use peat or peat based composts in your garden.
  • Compost your garden, kitchen or farm waste.
  • Ensure your septic tank is working properly.
  • Plant local, rare fruit, flower and vegetable varieties, such as those available from the Irish Seed Savers. See Further Information below for contact details.
  • Retain standing dead wood, where there is no safety concerns.
  • Leave cracks and crevices in walls where possible, do not over point walls.
  • Do not pick or uproot wildflowers or plants.
  • Use biodegradable detergents and cleaning products and phosphate free washing powder.
  • If you are a farmer, you could:
    • Manage farm waste and silage in order to prevent runoff into watercourses.
    • Retain any existing habitats on your farm such as ponds, woodland, scrub and hedgerows.
    • Where no ponds or pools exist consider creating a pond. Without steep sides to reduce the likelihood of hedgehogs and other animals drowning and to encourage greater plant diversity.
    • Manage some areas as meadows, only cutting once a year in August.
    • Consider planting new hedges or shelterbelts along farm boundaries using native species such as Hawthorn, Willow and Holly.
    • Follow the Good Farming Practice guide as set out by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.
    • Enter your farm in the REPS (Rural Environmental Protection Scheme), administrated by the Department of Agriculture and Food or enter the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Scheme.
    • Convert to organic farming.
  • Record the animal and plant species you see in Clare.
  • Join a local conservation group or start one in your area.
  • Join and participate in events with wildlife organisations. See the chapter Further Information
    on Biodiversity below for contact details of various organisations involved in biodiversity.