This is the practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats. Restored habitats help to increase the populations of wild species which are currently in decline such as birds, bees, butterflies, aquatic species and other animals.
Restoring an area’s natural biodiversity may include the following:
- Restoring native bogs, grasslands or wetlands.
- Planting wildflowers to encourage bees.
- Protecting our native forests and planting new native forests.
- Planting hedgerows and ensuring hedgerows are not cut down.
- Ensuring that no chemicals or pesticides are used.
- Re-introduction of native species of animals or plants.
- Eradicating non-native invasive species.
- Returning land to nature or rewilding.
You can read more about Ireland’s biodiversity and related projects here:
- Irish Wildlife Trust
- National Biodiversity Conference Report 2019
- National Biodiversity Data Centre
- National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021
- Economic and Social Aspects of Biodiversity in Ireland
- An Taisce
- Wildlife Habitat Council
- Birdwatch Ireland
- Bat Conservation Ireland
Rewilding means allowing land to return to nature so that natural ecosystems are restored. Human involvement is limited. Apex predators (such as wolves) may be introduced, in order to create a self-regulating system. The ultimate goal of rewilding efforts is to create ecosystems requiring passive management by limiting human involvement.
Dam removal is the first of many steps in the process of rewilding in the riverine ecosystems. Food sources for native animals and fish need to be introduced so as to improve the long-term sustainability of native species and curtail and/or eliminate the introduction of invasive species.
Rewilding has 3 components: cores (i.e. core areas where nature is strictly protected), corridors (to link the cores to each other) and carnivores. These are known as the three ‘C’s.
Rewilding of large areas has potential in terms of tourism and leisure. With the right incentives, such as CAP payments for farmers who allow their land to return to nature, rewilding can become a more attractive option for landowners.
Rewilding projects in Ireland: