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ecosystem

Streams play big role in our clean water and biodiversity

Small streams are crucial for clean water and biodiversity. `A new international research project led by UCD’s school of biology and environmental science wants to find ways to limit pollution and improve animal and plant life in this important ecosystem.  It is hard to believe but small streams make up about three-quarters of the length of the Irish river network. Of the 74,000km of river chann...
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Bird and Butterfly populations show downward trend

Trends in bird and butterfly populations can be excellent indicators for the health of the environment.  Alarmingly, both of them show significant downward trends, with no signs of recovery. Key messages Monitoring schemes show significant long-term (25-year) downward trends in common birds (in particular farmland birds) and grassland butterfly population numbers, with no signs of recover...
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The biodiversity problem with our neat lawns

You won’t find many neater lawns than those at Wimbledon.  But while immaculately mown and weed-free grass might be perfect for a spot of tennis or soaking up some sun in your garden – it’s doing very little for biodiversity, says Adriana de Palma, a researcher in Life Sciences at the Natural History Museum. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2019, biodiversity loss and ecosystem ...
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Nature and Biodiversity: What’s in it for You – EU Publication

Biodiversity is the variety of life on our planet. It underpins our well being and the economy. We depend on nature for our food, water, air, health, soil fertility and climate regulation. More than 80% of Europe’s crops and wild plants need pollinators, like bees, in order to bear fruit and seeds. Nature’s invisible services are free and often taken for granted – yet, they are precious a...
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Ireland ranks among 15% of world’s inland surface water areas covered by protected areas, 1st global assessment

At least 15% of the world’s inland surface water areas are covered by protected areas, according to a new study from the JRC.  This is close to the global target of 17% set out in Aichi Target 11 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 of the Convention on Biological Diversity However, surface water protection is very unevenly distributed globally, still falling well below 17% in over ...
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Environment must be at core of farming

farm
The “artificial divide” between farmers and environmentalists has been criticised by MEP Mairead McGuinness, who said that many farmers are “acutely conscious” of the environment.  McGuinness, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, made the comments while presenting an award for environmentally-friendly farming at the weekend. The Farming for Nature Award saw six nominees shortlisted,...
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UN Environment and Google announce ground-breaking partnership to protect our planet

UN Environment and Google recently announced a global partnership that promises to change the way we see our planet. Combining environmental science, big data and unprecedented accessibility, this joint effort aims to expand what the world knows about the impacts of human activity on global ecosystems. When completed, the platform will leverage Google’s cloud computing and earth observation pub...
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Implementation of EU Clean Air Policy

Ireland is implementing the EU Clean Air Package which contains a suite of policies and legislative proposals to update and modernise EU clean air legislation. This will reflect improved scientific knowledge and understanding of the health and environment impacts of air pollution. The Clean Air Programme for Europe describes the problem. It sets out new interim objectives for reducing health and e...
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Contribution of Algae to our healthiest waterways

When people think about algae in rivers, pollution and eutrophication normally spring to mind.  Initiatives such as the EU’s Water Framework Directive can help us better understand the contribution of algae to our healthiest waterways. Algae are an important part of stream ecosystems, but we often only notice them when the natural balance is upset and they can proliferate. Take a tentative step i...
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How tiny plastic particles are polluting our soil

The millions of tons of plastic swirling around the world’s oceans have garnered a lot of media attention recently. But plastic pollution arguably poses a bigger threat to the plants and animals – including humans – who are based on land. Very little of the plastic we discard every day is recycled or incinerated in waste-to-energy facilities. Much of it ends up in landfills, where it may take u...
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