2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity. To mark the year, the Network concentrated on learning about promoting biodiversity.
Monaghan County Council organised tutorials from Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants for us. We learned about biodiversity, and about how to adapt what we do to encourage more wildlife into our areas.
We also learned how to carry out an audit of the habitats in our area, so that we would have a baseline for their condition, and could then devise management plans for habitats that were in trouble. We were trained in the Fossitt classification of habitat types as part of the tutoring, and the Council provided us with low-flown aerial photography of our areas to help us to map out the habitats.
Monaghan County Council purchased a quantity of resource materials to help us in our work; these are available for loan from the county library. The ‘Biodiversity Kit’ includes everything from books to help identify flora and fauna, to a bat detector, to pipettes and trays for collecting creepy crawlies!
You can view a full list of what’s available in the Kit here: Biodiversity Kit list
Here are the notes from the training sessions delivered by Billy Flynn:
biodiversity Notes Session 1
Biodiversity Notes Session 2
Biodiversity Notes Session 3
The Fossitt System(ppt)
The Habitat Survey(ppt)
Timetable for Habitats
Action for Biodiversity
Monaghan County Council is part of an East Border Region project, Action for Biodiversity, which has seen the roll out of several initiatives across the county. You can find out more on their website http://actionforbiodiversity.eu/
National Biodiversity Data Centre
The National Biodiversity Data Centre was established by the Heritage Council in January 2007. It’s funded by the Dept of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government. Ireland, along with its other EU partners, agreed in 2001 ‘to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2010’ and to ‘restore habitats and natural systems’. The National Biodiversity Data Centre was set up to act as a focal point for initiatives working to halt the decline in biodiversity and as a repository for information on what is out there at present.
The Data Centre co-ordinates a number of initiaitves, and relies on volunteers around the country to record sightings of various flora and fauna – everything from invasive plants to pollinating insects. It has a range of excellent smartphone apps to assist you to both identify what you’re looking at and submit a report to the Data Centre. This is THE most important resource for biodiversity in the country.
Add the link to their excellent website to your ‘Favourites’ menu now: http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/
The National Centre feeds into a Global Structure. Ireland became a member of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility in 2008, and the National Biodiversity Data Centre is nominated as the national node for Ireland. Biodiversity data contained in the Data Centre’s database has been fed into the GBIF portal to ensure that future international and global maps will now also include Irish data. You can access almost 190 million biodiversity records worldwide via the Global Biodiversity Information Facility’s data portal: http://www.gbif.org/
Call for Volunteers to record Bee Sightings
The Irish Pollinator Initiative (IPI) was set up to generate data to help drive and direct pollinator conservation in Ireland. The website provides lots of information on pollination, and on Irish pollinators, including species accounts for all 101 Irish bee species and 180 Irish hoverfly species. It also has suggestions of things you can do to help pollinators in your own garden or local park.
One of the main aims of the IPI is to increase the number of people in Ireland who can identify bee and hoverfly species. Having skilled recorders means more knowledge about where the pollinators are, how abundant they are, and what’s happening at local levels. This can then be translated into actions to help protect them. In 2012 the Tawny mining bee was re-found in Ireland, having thought to be extinct here for 87 years!
The key is to have people out there knowing what to look for, and who know where to send the information when they find it.
The IPI is a citizen science initiative, entirely dependent on volunteer recorders. The pollinator recording army currently stands at about 150, but we’re always looking for more recruits. We run identification workshops on bees and hoverflies for both beginners and advanced recorders. There are also keys on the website to help you identify the different species. These range from technical keys to simple picture guides.
Regardless of your current skills there is a pollinator challenge for you!
How you can get involved
The hoverfly Eupeodes latifas resting on a leaf.
The Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme involves carrying out a fixed route walk once a month and recording the bumblebees that you spot. Generally it takes between 45-60 minutes to do the walk each month and then 5-10 minutes to put the details of what you’ve spotted into our online system. It’s one of the only schemes in Europe tracking what’s happening with wild pollinators across the landscape. It begins in March and we urgently need more volunteers. Beginners are very welcome.
If you prefer something more casual, we have 10 key pollinators beginners can look out for, or perhaps you’d like to help with ‘Rare species watch’ by visiting previously known locations and checking whether two of our most endangered bumblebees still exist there?
You could also try to update the pollinator list for your county. You’d be surprised at how little we know.
If you live in Co. Monaghan, only one bee species has ever been recorded there. You can be the county expert in no time!
Zoe Devlin, author of Irish Wildflowers, has developed a website which lists all flowers. You can search by name, by colour, or by month (to see what’s in bloom). There are lots of photos, and she even tells you what other plant you might confuse your specimen with.