Biodiversity FAQs
Biodiversity Webinars

We are bringing people together through a series of lunchtime webinars to hear from the experts on what is causing biodiversity loss, what is being done to address the crisis and what we can do as individuals and communities to get more involved.

An Introduction to Biodiversity

– with Pádraic Fogarty
Pádraic Fogarty is a Campaign Officer with the Irish Wildlife Trust and the Environmental Pillar representative on the National Biodiversity Forum.

1pm – 2pmonline
Freshwater Biodiversity

– with Dr. Elaine McGoff
Dr. Elaine McGoff is the Natural Environment Officer with An Taisce, the. With a PhD in Freshwater Ecology, Elaine’s work focuses on advocating for the full implementation of environmental law into planning developments. She currently sits on the National Biodiversity Forum as well as the Forestry Strategy Implementation Group.

1pm – 2pmonline
Native Woodlands and Biodiversity

– with Jim Lawlor
1pm – 2pmonline
Our Marine Biodiversity

– with Donal Griffin & Regina Classen
1pm – 2pmonline
Bogs and Biodiversity

– with Nuala Madigan
1pm – 2pmonline
Farming and Biodiversity

– with Oonagh Duggan
Oonagh Duggan is Head of Policy and Advocacy with Birdwatch Ireland, working towards a better future for birds and their habitats. Oonagh sits on the National Biodiversity Forum as well as the CAP Consultative Committee.

1pm – 2pmonline
Health and Biodiversity

– Speaker TBA
1pm – 2pmonline
Biodiversity GatheringHear about biodiversity in Ireland, the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, and meet others working on climate and biodiversity.

Attend in person or online.

10.30am – 3.30pmAthlone and online

What is the Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity Loss

How can the State improve its response to Biodiversity Loss? That’s what the assembly of 99 members of the public, along with an independent Chairperson, are examining in this Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss. They will bring forward proposals to the State on how to address this pressing issue, and your voice can be included! Make your own submission to the Citizens’ Assembly to add your thoughts on the future of habitats in Ireland.

Ideas for your Submission

This is an opportunity for everyone to have their say on what needs to be done about the biodiversity crisis. You can a make as short or as long a submission as you like. What is important to you? What local, national or international initiatives do you feel are needed to address it?

Your submission will have more impact if it is in your own words. For that reason we do not have a template for a submission, but you can take ideas and inspiration from the submission of the Environmental Pillar. You can read the full submission linked below.

The Environmental Pillar has recommended the following:

Biodiversity Action needs to be properly resourced

● There is an urgent need to bring funding in line with Ireland’s international and national
commitments to protect and restore biodiversity. Biodiversity conservation funding should
be increased to €1.5 billion per annum up to 2030.

● Moving forward both national and EU funding should be allocated in a way that maximises
positive impacts on biodiversity conservation and avoids funding activities that drive
biodiversity loss.

● The recommendations of the Strategic Action Plan for the renewal of the National Parks
and Wildlife Service (NPWS) 2022 – 2024, should be fully implemented.

A new mandate: Public lands managed in the public interest

● Coillte and Bord Na Mona’s legal mandates must be reviewed and brought in line with
societal expectations and the stark realities of the biodiversity and climate emergency.

Amend the Irish Constitution

● We call for amendments to clauses such as Article 10 of the Irish Constitution and the
insertion of new clauses to declare protection of the environment as a core and
fundamental value to Irish society.

Full implementation of Environmental Law and Policy Commitments

● Ireland must fully implement national and EU environmental laws and ensure that they
are properly enforced.

● Fully implement national and international commitments for Nature. In particular the
objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030; including the adoption of an ambitious
EU Nature Restoration Law.

● Improve policy coherence and coordination by ensuring that all relevant government
policies are compatible with our commitments to Nature.

● Policy implementation must be delivered based on an all of government approach. All
departments must be coherent, transparent and accountable in how they deliver our
policies for Nature.

Reorientate economic activity away from expansionism and towards societal and ecological
wellbeing and a circular economy

● Cross-sectoral measures to help ease expansionist pressure on the Irish economy are
urgently needed, including reforms to taxation, financial services, housing provision, and
welfare services.

● The Irish government should advocate for a shift in emphasis in EU and international
economic policy away from GDP expansion as a goal in itself and towards the goals of
societal and ecological wellbeing.

● The Irish government should fully implement existing policy initiatives in the area of
circular economy, implement specific targets for reuse at national and sectoral level, and
support social enterprise approaches for this purpose.

● The Irish Wellbeing Framework should be modified so that it more accurately measures
economic, social and environmental progress in Ireland, and it should be given a strong
role in shaping policy, including in the annual budgeting process.

Education and Research

● The Government should encourage greater understanding of ecology and natural history
by supporting initiatives that facilitate education and engagement with Nature.

● The Government should better resource biodiversity research, data collection and
monitoring. In particular a greater emphasis needs to be placed on our marine
environment where there are serious gaps in our understanding of the distribution of
threatened habitats and species.

● The Government and relevant departments should do more to encourage the participation
of the public in data collection through citizen science initiatives. Data when available
should be integrated into appropriate databases to facilitate conservation and made
available when appropriate.

On Land: Towards a New Agricultural and Food Policy for Ireland

● Develop a Policy Framework Aligned with Ecological Limits and Environmental Commitments

● Protect and Restore Biodiversity on Farmland

● Protect and Restore Peatlands and Woodlands on Farms

● Ensure that Agriculture Delivers its Fair Contribution of the 51% Reductions in Greenhouse Gas
Emissions by 2030 Committed to in the Programme for Government

● Urgently Improve Air Quality

● Halt and Reverse Water Quality Decline

● Support Sustainable Livelihoods and Incentivise Farm Diversification

● Contribute to Public Health and Sustainable Consumption

● Contribute Meaningfully to Food Security and Nutrition

● Facilitate Inclusive Dialogue and Participation for an Alternative Model for Agriculture in

On Land: Root and Branch Reform – A new vision for Irish Forestry

These recommendations are taken from the Environmental Pillar’s 10 Point Action Plan to fix
Forestry in Ireland and Greening Irish Forestry – Recommendations for Nature Friendly Forestry.

● Change the current narrowly focused forestry model and transition to a three-strand forestry
strategy, for 1. Timber production, 2 Biodiversity/Ecological services/water protection and long term
Carbon storage, and 3. Community Woodland Social/Recreational to ensure a balance of the 3 Pillars
of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), Ecological, Social, and Economic, based on the 1992 Rio
Forest Principles for Sustainable Forest Management and subsequent EU Ministerial Conferences on
the Protection of Forests treaties for SFM as well as the legally binding UN Convention on Biological
Diversity relating to native woodlands and broadleaves to increase biodiversity.

● Move to a close to nature, continuous cover management model with a focus on native
broadleaves aspen, birch, oak, cherry, holly, and other valuable high-end broadleaves, including
more use of our native conifer, scots pine to grow better quality softwoods, and non-native conifers
such as cedar, douglas fir, european larch, promote natural regeneration, ecological corridors for
nature connectivity and traditional coppice management of suitable native and other species.

● Phase out the damaging practices of clear felling and chemical dependency, as forest
management tools. Include compensation for forestry contractors using the just transition model
developed for closure of peat burning power stations and introduce training in small scale close to
nature SFM to develop ecologically minded foresters.

● Ensure that wildlife is protected from afforestation and forestry management in line with the
requirements of Irish and EU law. Develop tools such as sensitivity mapping and implement
species specific guidelines to support ecological assessment of applications for afforestation
and felling.

● Reform, Refocus and Repurpose Coillte, the Irish Forestry Board, legislation via the1988
Forestry Act, which is not fit for purpose and repurpose Coillte to deliver the multiple known
benefits of a new 21st century Irish forestry model, which creates higher quality timber,
meaningful employment and contributes to our Climate and Biodiversity action/mitigation plans,
while ensuring that Communities benefit.

● Embrace a broad-based agroforestry model that includes sustainable hedgerow management and
conservation with less onerous rules for establishing small groves of native and useful broadleaves/
native conifer. Reward farmers for measured ecosystem, Water, Soil protection, and Carbon
sequestration services.

● Assist the development of small scale local Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems in
Public and other buildings utilising locally produced tree thinning’s and other sustainably
produced biomass/firewood including from farm hedgerows in tandem with the development of a
national certified small-scale Sustainable Forest Management standard.

● Introduce Community Woodland legislation to allow public and community co-operatives
access to funding and support to buy unproductive Coillte and other public lands to develop long
term native community woodlands. A Forestry Commission model for this exists in the UK,
developed for Scotland who have approximately 200 Community woodlands some on ex Forestry
Commission sites.

● Establish a broad multi stakeholder forestry-land-water-soil management use Forum, with
cross departmental inputs to oversee all new afforestation and guide the forestry strategy
implementation, to ensure Joined up thinking so that new woodlands and forestry plantations
are sited in an ecologically sound way, with the right tree in the right place, utilising the existing
River Basin management plans combined with existing satellite digital data mapping systems as an
overarching framework for planning the siting of trees.

● Ensure that full lifecycle carbon accounting is an integral component of all schemes within the
forestry programme and riparian etc woodlands/agroforestry if it is funded under CAP or state eco

● Ensure that the Government’s afforestation strategy is not impacting on Biodiversity by
establishing a monitoring system for the Forestry Programme. Ensure that licensing requires site-by-
site ecological assessments to ensure that afforestation is not negatively impacting on biodiversity
both within or outside protected sites. Develop and implement a ‘Forestry Sensitivity Mapping Tool’
which will help to inform the future sustainable expansion of forestry in Ireland. This tool will provide the best available information on the distribution of species and habitats which have known
sensitivities to forestry. Adopt a definition of High Nature value farmland and ensure that it is
protected in line with EU policy.

Protecting Soil Biodiversity

● Ireland should support the European Commission in the reinitiation of a European Soil
Framework Directive to protect soils and soil biodiversity across Europe.

At Sea

● Designate and manage at least 30% of Irish waters as a Marine Protected Area.

● Implement ambitious marine conservation measures to ensure ‘Good Environmental Status’
of Ireland’s seas.

● Invest in restoration programmes to recover our most vulnerable and biodiverse coastal
habitats and endangered species.

● Review and amend the National Marine Planning Framework to ensure planning decisions are
considerate of whole ecosystems.

● Implement an ambitious and effective National Biodiversity Action Plan to jumpstart nature’s
recovery in Ireland.

● Pursue the full implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy to ensure fishing is sustainable,
and MPAs are effectively managed.

Continue to make a Difference

Support projects for biodiversity and climate in Ireland


The IEN has over 30 members, all working in different areas of biodiversity and climate.

From helping our endangered birds to connecting habitat for bats, from issues of zero waste to the circular economy, whatever your interest you will find lots of information and ways to help through our member groups.