independent

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Biodiversity very much flavour of the month

Jim Hurley - Nature Trail

A Honeybee collecting pollen for making honey from the bright yellow flowers of Oilseed Rape
A Honeybee collecting pollen for making honey from the bright yellow flowers of Oilseed Rape

This week is National Biodiversity Week and there are over 50 free, family friendly events taking place around the country to celebrate the special week.

Biodiversity is very much the flavour of the month as Monday, May 21, was European Natura 2000 Day and today, Tuesday the 22nd, is International Day for Biological Diversity.

Biological diversity explains itself; it is the diversity or variety of life found in a particular place. The diversity may be very high in a wood or on the seashore and low in a farmer's well-managed field of Oilseed Rape.

A field of Oilseed Rape is a monoculture; a stand of just one species of plant. The crop may look and smell lovely when the plants are in full flower, but as far as biological diversity goes a field of Oilseed Rape supports few life forms with the notable exception of the Honeybees that visit the bright yellow flowers to collect pollen.

The two words 'biological diversity' are often combined, blended and contracted to give the single word 'biodiversity'. The blended word, or portmanteau, was coined in 1968 by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond Dasmann in his book 'A Different Kind of Country' advocating conservation, but it didn't come into common usage till Thomas Lovejoy popularised it in the 1980s.

Biodiversity is the variety of life found in a particular place, the particular place being known as a habitat. Many habitats both globally and throughout the European Union are under threat and the situation here is in Ireland is bleak.

In Ireland, we have 58 habitats of European Community importance. Every six years, the government is obliged to report to the European Commission on the conservation status of these habitats. The last report was made in 2013. That report found that of the 58 habitats only 9% achieved 'Favourable' status; the other 91% scored 'Inadequate' or 'Bad' status. So, there is a way to go in looking after our natural heritage.

National Biodiversity Week is all about connecting people with nature. It's about communicating the importance of biodiversity and motivating people to play their part in protecting it. It's also about entertaining them, showing the fun and wonder that can be found in nature, and inspiring people to learn more, see more, do more.

There are over 50 free, family friendly events taking place around Ireland to celebrate National Biodiversity Week. To find out about events in your area check out http://biodiversityweek.ie/events/

Wexford People

Most Read

News