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Over 31,000 different species call Ireland home

The first ever inventory of the country’s biodiversity shows that tens of thousands of different species exist in the country today – but not all of their futures are certain.

A common rabbit making a meal out a dandelion in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
A common rabbit making a meal out a dandelion in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THERE ARE CURRENTLY 31,000 different species living in Ireland  - and scientists believe that there are at least a further 7,000 species of fungi and organisms yet to be discovered.

The National Biodiversity Centre has released the first ever inventory of the country’s biodiversity, after an agreement between Ireland and its EU partners to halt biodiversity loss. With this aim in mind, the centre set out to “produce an overview of the state of knowledge on Ireland’s biodiversity (in order to establish) what species and habitats occur in Ireland, how they are distributed, and how their range and/or populations are changing”.

The centre estimates that goods and services provided by biodiversity contribute a minimum of €2.6 billion to the economy every year. It has set up a website to present its findings, which will be updated as new information about biodiversity in Ireland is uncovered.

Some findings of the report:

  • Only 10 per cent of our biodiversity are plants, birds, mammals
  • Invertebrates are the largest category of species in Ireland, followed by fungi, plants, vertebrates and algae
  • Just 60 species of mammals exist in Ireland – but a massive 11,422 species of insects are fluttering and crawling across the country
  • Of all those creepy-crawlies, wasps, bees and ants make up the majority (3,194) – closely followed by flies (3,313)
  • Coastland and peatlands are the largest habitat types in the country
  • The vast majority of biodiversity (87 per cent) has no national conservation assessment
  • Nearly a quarter of the species assessed (23 per cent) are under threat of extinction
  • Almost half of bee species in Ireland are endangered, and nearly ten per cent of these are critically endangered

Read the full report >

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