The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government,
Mr John Gormley, TD, has announced (12 May) the publication
of a study investigating the social and economic aspects of
biodiversity in Ireland.
The report - produced by a consortium led by Dr Craig Bullock
of Optimize Consulting - considered a number of key
sectors - including agriculture, forestry, infastructure development,
human health and climate change.
By drawing a comparison between the value of ecosystem services
provided by biodiversity and the cost of implementing biodiversity
protection policies, the authors established a marginal value
of biodiversity to Ireland of at least €2.6 billion per annum.
For example, the report has estimated that the value of the
humble earthworm to Ireland to be in the region of €700 million
per annum for the services it provides in removing dead matter
and releasing nutrients back to the soil. Dr Bullock emphasised
that the value of €2.6 billion, suggested by the report, was
a conservative estimate and that the true value was likely
to be much higher if you considered other areas such as the
benefits to human health.
Minister Gormley welcomed the publication of the report stating
- “Most of us recognise the need to protect our native wildlife
for its intrinsic value and as something to be preserved for
future generations. However, this report presents a compelling
case to strengthen policies for the protection of biodiversity
for economic reasons and highlights far-reaching social -
as well as financial - benefits for our society.”
The Minister noted - "In recent years, many of Ireland’s
species and habitats have been endangered by increased development
and inadequate policies across a range of economic sectors.
Our biodiversity now faces increased threats from climate
change and other threats, such as the introduction of non-native
invasive species. We must develop and implement appropriate
policies to meet this challenge.”
The Minister added that the Department of the Environment,
Heritage and Local Government would be preparing a revised
Biodiversity Strategy for Ireland during 2008 and this new
report highlights the need for a strong engagement from both
the public and private sectors.
To download the report - Click