Cloughjordan project to feature at Ireland's National Biodiversity Conference

Cloughjordan project to feature at Ireland's National Biodiversity Conference

Cloughjordan project to feature at Ireland's National Biodiversity Conference

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A short film telling the story of the community and agency involvement in the award winning raised bog restoration project at Scohaboy SAC outside Cloughjordan village has been made for Ireland[s National Biodiversity Conference in Dublin Castle on February 20 and 21.

The film is one of seven comissioned nationwide with Lifeblood Films to showcase successful local biodiversity projects and the benefits communities can take from being involved with them. The other projects filmed were Dublin Port (Tern Colony), Harper’s Island Wetland Centre, Clonbur Forest Park, the Dodder River Action group, and the wild meadow and orchard on the grounds of INTEL Ireland.

The Cloughjordan Community Development Committee are the local partners in the Scohaboy conservation project with Coillte Forest and the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the project is an excellent example of how state agencies and a local community group can collaborate successfully in the conservation and protection of a unique natural heritage asset. The Cloughjordan film was commissioned by Coillte Forest, whose excellent community engagement over the years has helped realised invaluable local amenity and conservation assets.

The raised bog restoration LIFE project at Scohaboy is recognised as one of the most successful community supported conservation efforts of its kind in Ireland today, winning several national awards over the years. The conservation effort at Scohaboy is also a great example of community response to climate action, research by the Irish RAMSAR Wetlands Committee on peatlands has shown that though they make up an estimated 3% of the world[s surface, they store up to 30% of the worlds carbon. Not only do these waterlogged habitats support unique communities of plant and animal life, representing a uniquely Irish landscape, as carbon sinks, our bogs are as important as the Amazon rainforest!

The peatlands of the Irish Midlands (of which Scohaboy is one) are among the most important raised bog systems remaining in Europe and Scohaboy represents some of the last remnants of this habitat still in existence in the Atlantic region of the EU. Considered for many years, only useful for cutting turf or growing conifers on, appreciation of our raised bogs has grown with research and understanding of the essential ecosystem services they provide for us today.

The National Biodiversity Conference titled ‘New Horizons for Nature’, will be opened by Josepha Madigan, T.D. Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and will also be addressed by President Higgins. The important two-day event will see artists, businesses, economists, musicians and farmers join conservationists and scientists to seek answers to the question of how we can work together to reverse biodiversity loss.

According to the minister, “globally, we are losing biodiversity at a rate unprecedented in human history. In Ireland, many of our protected habitats are in poor condition, and 14% of species assessed are thought to be endangered. The number of plants, insects, mammals and birds that are threatened or endangered is growing year on year. Every one of these species is a masterpiece of biodiversity. Echoing President Macron, she added, there is no Planet B. The biodiversity of this planet is the greatest resource we have and it is up to this generation to move beyond rhetoric and on to action. That action is not for the prescient few. It is a societal obligation, and this conference will broaden that dialogue to more of those determined not to lose more of natures’ masterpieces.”

With their direct climate and conservation actions, the community of Cloughjordan have not been found wanting!

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