County Meath Biodiversity Action Plan
Meath County Council in partnership with the Heritage Council is preparing the first County Meath Biodiversity Action Plan. The plan will involve a review of existing biodiversity knowledge and will establish priorities and propose actions and targets for biodiversity within the county for the next five years.
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity (an abbreviation for biological diversity) is a term used to describe all living things on earth, including humans; it covers plants and animals (both wild and domesticated), the habitats where they live, and the genetic variety within species.
Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity is important because it provides a source of significant economic, environmental, health and cultural benefits. It provides us with a large amount of goods and services such as a constant and varied source of food, medicines derived from plant extracts, clothing, water and natural resources that help us to sustain life on earth. While genetic diversity ensures that plants and animals can be adapted to thrive in local conditions.
Our landscape and biodiversity reflect a great deal of our history and culture, and provide us with scenic walks, interesting animals and plants and wonderful landscapes to explore. Economically, tourism is very important to Ireland. In 2006, 6.4 million tourists visited Ireland from overseas and the tourism industry was worth an overall €5.9 billion.
Why prepare a biodiversity action plan?
The loss of the Earth’s natural resources was recognised on an international level at the 1992 ‘Earth Summit’. The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed by all nations at that meeting, including Ireland. Ireland’s first National Biodiversity Action Plan (2002 – 2006) called for all Local Authorities to produce Local Biodiversity Action Plans. The purpose of these plans is to ensure the protection and appreciation of nature at the county (local) level.
Loreto Guinan, Meath Heritage Officer, Meath Local Authorities and the County Meath Heritage Forum are working with Pádraic Fogarty of Open Field Ecological Services, under the commission of the Heritage Council, to draw up the Plan.
Community commitment is essential to the success of the plan and will be sought throughout the preparation and implementation stages.
This project is an action of the County Meath Heritage Plan 2007-2011
and an objective of the County Meath Development Plan 2007-2013, co-funded by the Heritage Council and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.