What is Biodiversity?
‘Biodiversity’ is the variety of life we can see all around us – from bacteria and fungi to insects, plants and birds.
Why is it Important?
Biodiversity provides us with everything we need – our food, clothes, medicines, materials for building houses, even the oxygen we breathe! For example many crops and animals we raise to feed ourselves were once wild plants and animals that have since become domesticated. Some plants even absorb toxic chemicals from car exhaust fumes that would otherwise damage our lungs!
Conserving our local biodiversity is therefore very important to our health and well-being.
Threats to Biodiversity
Many human activities are having a detrimental effect on our Biodiversity. This is due to habitat loss, degradation and destruction of natural habitats due to development, changing land use practises, invasive alien species and climate change.
Northern Ireland has already lost some species which include birds such as Golden and White-tailed Sea Eagles, Crane, Corn Bunting and mammals such as Wild Boar and Lynx. Less obvious animals such as the Small Blue Butterfly and Great Yellow Bumblebee have also been lost.
Many more species and habitats are in danger of disappearing in Northern Ireland. Species under threat include the Irish Damselfly, Hen Harrier, Barn Owl and Red Squirrel. Habitats under threat include native woodlands, lowland meadows, peatlands and coastal marine habitats.
Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP)
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council is currently working on developing a Local Biodiversity Action Plan. The plan is a strategy and set of objectives, produced in consultation with various governmental, non-governmental, community, and voluntary organisations as well as individuals with an interest in the area's natural environment.
The aims of the plan
- To conserve and enhance the rich biodiversity of our area for both current and future generations;
- Educate and raise awareness of the importance and variety of biodiversity found within our area.
- Encourage local ownership/guardianship of biodiversity in our area.
How you can do your bit for Biodiversity?
- If possible create a wildlife garden within the business grounds. This can connect staff to nature and promote health and wellbeing.
- Consider sponsoring a biodiversity project within your area e.g. wildflower seed packs, interpretation panels to promote biodiversity, goody bags for children involved in biodiversity projects.
- Volunteer staff from your business to assist with biodiversity projects e.g. litter picking in a nearby meadow, tree planting.
- Contact the Council’s Biodiversity Officer to discuss possible projects for your local community.
- Liaise with the Council’s Biodiversity Officer to source potential grant funding for biodiversity projects.
- Identify areas in your local community for wildflowers, hedgerows and trees to be planted.
- Assist the Councils’ Biodiversity Officer with the collection of data on wildlife within your school grounds.
- Create an area within the school grounds for some trees, wildflowers, vegetables beds, bug hotels, hedgehog home.
- Participate in some Biodiversity projects with the Council e.g. hedgehog talk, bird or mini beast projects.
In your Garden at home
- You would be amazed what wonderful wildlife you can spot in your garden. Record everything you see and submit the records to the Biodiversity Officer.
- You can benefit wildlife by not cutting grass as short or as frequently to allow lawn plants such as daisies that provide nectar for hoverflies and bees. Bees will also visit buttercups to collect nectar and pollen.
- Plant some wildflower seeds either in planters or a small area in your garden that will be uncut.
- Erect some bird boxes for birds before nesting season which is spring and early summer.
For any information on Biodiversity projects or events contact the Biodiversity Officer, 028 9244 7560.
If you would like to find out more about biodiversity, please visit the websites listed below or contact the organisation.
• Biodiversity in Northern Ireland – www.biodiversityni.com
• British Trust for Ornithology – www.bto.org
• Butterfly Conservation – www.butterfly-conservation.org
• Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) – www.nmni.com/cedar
• Ecoschools – www.eco-schoolsni.org
• Forest Service, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Water Management Unit-www.daera-ni.gov.uk
• National Biodiversity Data Centre – http://www.biodiversityireland.ie
• National Trust – www.nationaltrust.org.uk
• Northern Ireland Bat Group – www.bats-ni.org.uk
• Northern Ireland Environment Link – www.nienvironmentlink.org
• Northern Ireland Fungi Group – www.nifg.org.uk
• Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – www.rspb.org.uk
• Saving Our Magnificent Meadows – http://www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk
• The Conservation Volunteers – www.tcv.org.uk
• Ulster Wildlife – www.ulsterwildlife.org
• Walk NI – www.walkni.com
• Woodland Trust – www.woodlandtrust.org.uk