Extinction risk for 270 species in Ireland, says nature report

James Marshall
October 7, 2019

They include 140 plants, 11 vertebrates and 121 invertebrates, including species like the small blue butterfly, the cuckoo bumblebee and spiny dogfish.

The UK-wide figure, which drew on data from more species, saw only a 13% drop. Wild Cat and Greater Mouse-eared Bat are among those teetering on the edge of extirpation.

Rosie Hails, from the National Trust - the country's largest private landowner - said: "We are now at a crossroads when we need to pull together with actions rather than words, to stop and reverse the decline of those species at risk, as well as protecting and creating new habitats in which they can thrive".

It also found that the majority of common birds on the island aren't at risk (as their categorisation would suggest). While many emissions have reduced in recent decades, pollution continues to severely affect sensitive habitats and new sources of pollution are continuing to emerge.

Lead author Daniel Hayhow said: 'We need to respond more urgently across the board if we are to put nature back where it belongs'.

The report is published every three years and government agencies have joined wildlife organisations for the first time to help provide the clearest picture so far.

In this report, we have drawn on the best available data on the UK's biodiversity, produced by partnerships between conservation charities and organisations, research institutes, United Kingdom and national governments, and thousands of dedicated volunteers.

The report also showcases a number of successful conservation initiatives, with partnerships that have delivered positive results for some of the UK's species.

"We are now working closely with Defra to ensure the forthcoming policy of Environmental Net Gain in new development builds net gain for biodiversity; delivering for nature and addressing wider environmental issues". However, public sector expenditure on biodiversity in the United Kingdom, as a proportion of GDP, has fallen by 42% since a peak in 2008/09.

Iconic species like red squirrels and water voles, which were once widespread in Wales, are now restricted to a few sites and under real threat of extinction.

Dan Rouse, 23, said: "Nature is something that shaped my childhood, that allowed me to be free to use my sense of wonder ... How long until they're gone from the rest of the United Kingdom?"

The report says there is "enormous potential for engaging people to take action in their own gardens or to act together in local green space projects.This is being supported by policy and planning regulations to ensure best practice in new developments and management of existing green spaces, as well as through empowering citizens to take individual and collective responsibility for the nature on their doorstep".

Sophie Pavelle, a young conservationist who helped launch the report, said she had felt the loss of nature more acutely this year than any other, with "a dawn chorus less deafening, hedgerows less frantic, bizarre, worrying weather". It seems that in a more complex world nature is exhausted, muted and confused.

The full State of Nature 2019 report is available here.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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