Vulnerability of Irish Biodiversity
Vulnerability of Irish Biodiversity to Climate Change
Predicted negative effects of climate change for Ireland’s terrestrial and marine environments include changes in the distribution of species and the possible extinction of vulnerable species.
The tables below are taken from Biodiversity and Climate Change in Ireland Briefing Paper (2009) and are adapted from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) 2008 report. They present the conservation status of the included species with an added column providing an indication of climate change impact knowledge status. The present range, population, suitable habitat, future prospects and overall status of each species is highlighted.
There is a general scientific consensus that climate change is likely to favour invasive species, leading to new invasions and to the spread of established invasive species. Invasive species can also exacerbate the impacts of climate change by impacting biodiversity in advance of direct climatic impacts. Habitat alteration due to climate change will may also favour invasive species to the detriment of native wildlife.
The Invasive Species Ireland (ISI) project which began in May 2006 aims to reduce the impact and threats from invasive species on the island of Ireland and is a joint initiative between the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
An EPA report entitled Winners and Losers: Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity in Ireland found that:
- Widespread changes are already occurring in natural systems and these will continue
- These changes will accelerate in scope and scale in the coming decades due to greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere
- The scale and extent of changes will continue to accelerate over longer timescales if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated or increase
- Conservation decisions will have to be made based on longer timescales than has traditionally been the case
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