Depending on how we manage our peatlands they can contribute to Ireland’s biodiversity emergency or they can support biodiversity mitigation plans. Peatland biodiversity is threatened, over the past 50 years humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly than in
any comparable period of time in human history. Ireland has witnessed a 77% loss in peatland habitat.
Peatlands are home to a high proportion of Ireland’s biodiveristy. While only 10% of Ireland’s biodiversity has been assessed we do know that 15% of the original flora of Ireland are peatland plants. 14% (59 species) bird species have been recorded on peatland. 49% of all endangered birds in Ireland occur on peatlands, most as breeding species. 26% of Ireland’s animal species are dependent on peatlands in some phase of their life cycle. 23 of the 35 butterfly species found in Ireland are found on peatlands. There are two species that rely on bogs for breeding: the Large Heath (Coenonympha tullia) and Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi).
In Ireland peatland biodiversity is protected under the EU Habitats Directive, EU Birds Directive and the Irish Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000. In the 1960’s, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) developed the first standard approach for dealing with the presentation of information on rare and threatened species, more formal IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria were developed in the early nineties. Ireland has published 15 Red lists which can be accessed by visiting the National and Parks Wildlife Service website. Ireland has also published The Status of EU Protected Habitats and Species in Ireland, 2019.
To support planners, public representative decision makers and community members understand the status of Ireland’s peatland biodiversity the IPCC have reviewed the 15 Red Lists and the Status of EU Protected Habitast and Species in Ireland, 2019 completing Ireland’s Biodiversity Emergency – Peatland Biodiversity Review.
The Irish Peatland Conservation Couuncil would like
to thank and acknowledge funding support for this
work from the Heritage Grant Scheme 2022 from
Kildare County Council and the Biodiversity Fund
2022 from the Irish Environmental Network.