In the garden
In Ireland, climate change is predicted to lead to milder and wetter winters, warmer and drier summers and an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Shorter winters, earlier springs, and less summer rainfall may start to have an effect on our garden and local plants and animals. Seasonal changes could lead to a behavioural change in pollinators and pests, and ultimately disrupt the delicate balance that currently exists in your garden. Warmer weather may also cause the spread of fungal infections and diseases in plants. Furthermore, certain species of plants may not grow in Irish gardens if the climate changes significantly. Historical gardens will face the greatest threat and modern-day gardeners may struggle to adapt.
Some of the predicted climate changes will present new opportunities and challenges for gardeners, as there may be:
- Longer growing seasons
- Fewer frosts
- More intense seasonal rainfall
- More frequent seasonal drought
Biodiversity and Climate Change
In Europe, over 42% of mammals and 45% of butterflies are currently under threat. As the temperature rises and the climate changes this proportion may increase. Furthermore, research has identified 170 native plant species in Ireland that could appear to be particularly vulnerable to climate change during the period 2007 - 2050 (National Botanic Gardens of Ireland). See also the EPA report on Winners and Losers: Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity in Ireland.
Ireland is predicted to experience an increase in the average temperature across the country during both the summer and winter. Small changes in temperature can cause huge impacts on many of our native species. Warmer weather may cause loss of certain species over time and possibly the increased spread of invasive alien species. Ireland may also see changes in the life cycles of plants, mammals, insects, and birds. Evidence of changing life cycles has already been seen in some insects and in the international migratory patterns of birds.
To find more information on Ireland 's biodiversity and what you can do to help reduce your impact on the natural world, check out the Notice Nature website at http://www.noticenature.ie/
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