National Biodiversity Week
In honour of National Biodiversity Week, Visit Waterford will take a look at the work being carried out at The National Biodiversity Data Centre, located at SETU on Waterford Greenway. The main role of The National Biodiversity Data Centre is to acquire, collate, manage and make available data in relation to Ireland’s biodiversity. The National Biodiversity Data Centre carries out this work to manage and maintain our ecosystems.
Ireland is globally renowned for its picturesque landscapes, lush green forests and clear blue rivers. In order to maintain these geological and topographical landscape features we must monitor the species of flora and fauna that live here. Ireland has an abundance of native species including oak trees, ash trees, gorse, primrose and of course animals such as badgers, red deer, and red squirrel. As a result of climate change and of course trade between Ireland and the global economy, sometimes non-native species appear in these habitats and can result in immediate detrimental effects for our native species. The National Biodiversity Data Centre is charged with monitoring these habitats and accounting for new invasive species often reflected in the rapid decline in native species.
The centre supports national initiatives to maintain and enhance biodiversity nationwide and takes necessary steps to protect these environments. The ecologists and researchers at the centre keep a record of species and habitat information from terrestrial, freshwater, marine and wetland environments. These collections are immense and the National Biodiversity Centre currently has 6,006,760 records on file with 17,415 species recorded and 172 databases.
Arguably one of their greatest initiatives to date is the All Ireland Pollinator Plan. As bees play an essential role in our environments. The main objective of this 5 step project is to encourage the following:
- Maintain native flowering hedgerows
- Allow wildflowers to grow around the farm
- Provide nesting places for wild bees.
- Minimise artificial fertiliser use
- Reduce pesticide inputs
The National Biodiversity Data Centre is located on The Waterford Greenway, 46 km of luscious flora and countless fauna species. The National Biodiversity Data Centre is also charged with protecting and maintaining logs of protected species nationally some of these include The Irish Hare, Pygmy Shrew and Red Squirrel. All of this data including the current recorded number of each is available on their website and this is a great resource when learning more about our natural environment. Logs of invasive species, non-native species and flowers are also available online here.
The National Biodiversity Centre launched the Biodiversity Data Capture app last year. This allows locals and visitors alike to log flora and fauna and varying species that they encounter throughout the country and this data will then be processed by the centre. This allows the public to play an active role in maintaining our natural ecosystems and protecting our native species. The app is relatively easy to use and invites the public to upload images, geographical data and other specifications to be processed by the centre.
It is a fantastic tool to have especially in the summer months when the walking, hiking and garden trails of Waterford come alive with flora and fauna. Along the greenway you will find Mount Congreve Gardens boasting arguably the largest collection of plants in Europe. You are guaranteed to spot some beautiful flora along the 70 acres of gardens and 16 km of walking routes. The Gardens are also home to hundreds of species of insects, animals and birds including The protected Red Squirrel, Woodpeckers and birds of prey. Waterford boasts an extensive collection of estates and gardens which are also home to various plant and animal species including, Curraghmore House, Lismore Castle Gardens, Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens, Cappoquin House & Gardens, Dromana House & Gardens, Tourin House and Gardens, Fairbrook Gardens and Abbey Road Gardens.
Outside of these breath-taking gardens Waterford has a wide variety of walking and hiking trails to suit everyone, from city to coastal, woodland and mountain, click here to download the latest walking trails booklet.
(Images Ireland’s content pool)