Wetlands Guide published – Irish wetlands worth €385m to the economy
Ireland’s Ramsar Wetlands Committee will launch Irish Wetland Types – An Identification Guide and Field Survey Manual this week, National Biodiversity Week. Ireland’s Ramsar Wetlands Committee (IRWC) comprises representatives from universities, state bodies and non-governmental organisations. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (National Parks and Wildlife Service) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly host and fund the activities of the IRWC.
Dr. Ciaran O’Keeffe of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said,
“Forty-five of Ireland’s wetland sites are of international standard and are on the List of the Ramsar Convention’s Wetlands of International Importance. However, there are also thousands of smaller, but still valuable, wetland sites across the country. They are an important part of our wider environment, helping to underpin our economy and wellbeing. They are worthy of protection, not alone because of the biodiversity they support, but also because of the role they play in providing essential ecosystem services – for example through flood attenuation and regulation of water quality.”
The manual provides information for the non-specialist on the different types of wetlands in Ireland and how to identify them. Training events on using the manual to identify wetland types, such as bog woodland, marsh, upland flushes, fen and reedbed, will be provided on a phased basis.
Dr. Jonathan Derham, Programme Manager of the EPA said,
“The biodiversity of wetlands in Ireland has been estimated to be worth €385 million per year to the Irish economy, not including that generated through tourism. Ireland’s wetlands include bogs, rivers, lakes, ponds, turloughs, estuaries, and marsh land. Key to understanding and protecting these valuable cultural and economic assets, is to be able to recognise and classify them.”
“A critical aspect of understanding how our landscape and environment supports our health, wellbeing and economy is to learn to see it. Too often irreparable damage is done before land users, developers and communities come to recognise what it is they are interfering with (e.g. through drainage, infill, etc.). Part of the challenge of any aspect of environmental preservation is recognising the public asset and the essential services our environment provides.”
An electronic version of the manual and accompanying field survey form is available for free download on-line at NPWS, EPA and IRWC websites.