The Biodiversity Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan
By the end of the century, climate change is likely to become the most significant driver of biodiversity loss. Increases in temperature will change the timing of life cycle events and the distribution of species. The physical impact of more intense storms and increased winter/spring rainfall will accelerate the degradation of habitats that are already compromised by unsustainable practices.
The Biodiversity Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan considers terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity and ecosystem services. The goal is to protect biodiversity from the impacts of climate change and to conserve and manage ecosystems so that they deliver services that increase the adaptive capacity of people and biodiversity. This is achieved by identifying adaptation options that will help to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services from the impacts of changing climate.
In order to add robustness and to ensure relevance in an Irish context, the project has incorporated consultation with experts, stakeholders and the public throughout the process of its creation.
A large number of individuals and organisations were consulted during the development of the Plan including:
- Presentations and discussion with the interdepartmental Biodiversity Working Group and the Biodiversity Forum (external watchdog)
- A stakeholder workshop to focus on prioritising climate change impacts in November 2018
- A dedicated session at the National Biodiversity Conference in February 2019 attended by c180 delegates
- Attendance at a number of sectoral workshops including a cross sectoral presentation at a Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine workshop.
- Bilateral discussions were held with Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, The Office of Public Works, Climate Change Advisory Council and Climate Action Regional Offices.
- Information from a survey on the impacts of extreme weather events on Irish biodiversity collated from responses from National Parks and Wildlife Service Regional Staff and Irish Academics
- Public Consultation (Feb-April 2019)
The overall goal of this Plan is
To protect biodiversity from the impacts of climate change and to conserve and manage ecosystems so that they deliver services that increase the adaptive capacity of people and biodiversity while also contributing to climate change mitigation.
The Plan identifies 6 Objectives (underpinned by Actions to meet those Objectives):
- Protect, restore and enhance biodiversity to increase the resilience of natural and human systems to climate change;
- Improve understanding of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity;
- Improve landscape connectivity to facilitate mobility in a changing climate;
- Engage society and all sectors to protect biodiversity to enhance resilience;
- Ensure sufficient financing is available to implement the Biodiversity Climate Change Adaptation Plan; and
- Put adequate monitoring and evaluation measures in place to review the implementation of the Biodiversity Climate Change Adaptation Plan
Priority actions have been identified in the Plan, including:
- Restore and enhance natural systems through management to increase resilience
- Establish and implement an all-island invasive species programme
- Develop and implement a National Soil Strategy to increase the resilience of soils
- Develop an integrated coastal management strategy which includes ecosystem based adaptation actions
- Promote ecosystem restoration and conservation though Payment for Ecosystem Services and investment in actions that increase carbon sinks while promoting biodiversity
- Carry out a comprehensive vulnerability assessment of biodiversity in Ireland
- Develop an impact assessment tool to screen for potential maladaptation impacts
- Design corridors and buffer zones to enhance the resilience of protected areas and designated sites by increasing opportunities for dispersal across the landscape
- Implement measures to reduce the barrier effects of roads, railways and technical objects in rivers and streams to facilitate species spatial responses to climate change
- Undertake natural capital accounting in all sectors to ensure natural capital is being valued and Ecosystem Based Adaptation and green infrastructure options are being employed