What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity (an abbreviation for biological diversity) is a term used to describe all living things on earth, including humans; it covers plants and animals (both wild and domesticated), the habitats where they live, and the genetic variety within species.
Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity is important because it provides a source of significant economic, environmental, health and cultural benefits. It provides us with a large amount of goods and services such as a constant and varied source of food, medicines derived from plant extracts, clothing, water and natural resources that help us to sustain life on earth. While genetic diversity ensures that plants and animals can be adapted to thrive in local conditions.
Our landscape and biodiversity reflect a great deal of our history and culture, and provide us with scenic walks, interesting animals and plants and wonderful landscapes to explore. Economically, tourism is very important to Ireland. In 2006, 6.4 million tourists visited Ireland from overseas and the tourism industry was worth an overall €5.9 billion.
Why prepare a biodiversity action plan?
The loss of the Earth’s natural resources was recognised on an international level at the 1992 ‘Earth Summit’. The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed by all nations at that meeting, including Ireland. Ireland’s first National Biodiversity Action Plan (2002 – 2006) called for all Local Authorities to produce Local Biodiversity Action Plans. The purpose of these plans is to ensure the protection and appreciation of nature at the county (local) level.