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Biodiversity Species List for County Donegal

Launch od Biodiversity Species List

Ralph Sheppard (centre), author of the ‘Biodiversity Species List for County Donegal’ pictured at its launch at Glenveagh Castle with Dr. Liam Lysaght, Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre (left) and David Duggan, Deputy Regional Manager, Glenveagh National Park (right) in May 2009.

 

The first ‘Biodiversity Species List for County Donegal’ was launched in Glenveagh National Park in May 2009 as part of ‘Biodiversity Week’. The ‘Biodiversity Species List for County Donegal’ was compiled by ecologist Ralph Sheppard and is the first comprehensive list of plant and animal species found in the county. Dr. Liam Lysaght, Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford, launched the species list and said that the list would be a valuable baseline document that would make an important contribution to recognising and documenting the diversity of plants and animals that exist in County Donegal.

 

The term ‘Biodiversity’ was coined by American zoologist Edward O. Wilson and is an abbreviation of ‘Biological Diversity’. The term is used to refer to the variety of life on earth. “If all we chose to save in Donegal were the familiar garden species and the famous rarities – we would soon have nothing at all,” said Ralph Sheppard, author/compiler of the biodiversity species list. “What would much-loved birds like Robins and Swallows and Corncrakes have to live on? Would a few chosen plant species come to dominate if there were no grazing animals to keep them in check? If we want to retain what we value, we need to value the whole package – an immense variety of plants and animals held together in the web of life. We have over 1000 wildflowers, although an increasing number of these are invasive alien species. We have 321 birds – or rather had, as four have gone extinct in the last 40 years. But one of the few benefits of global warming may be new species to enjoy, like the Little Egret, a beautiful white heron which now visits us regularly. Those are the easy ones, but did you know that we have 547 species of mosses and 161 species of Water Beetles? We have only 28 species of butterfly, but you can add to these the 590 species of moth – many of which are just as beautiful, although most are hidden under cover of darkness. This list of 6,000 species is the first ever attempt of bring all of Donegal’s wildlife together between two covers.”

Cllr. Ian McGarvey, Chairman of the County Donegal Heritage Forum, hoped that the biodiversity species list would contribute to an increased awareness and appreciation of the rich biodiversity in County Donegal. The ‘Biodiversity Species List for County Donegal’ was funded by Donegal County Council and The Heritage Council as part of the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan (Actions 3.8. & 4.12)

 

Biodiversity Species List for County Donegal (Publication) 

 

An Action of the County Donegal Heritage Plan

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