Creed: National biodiversity ‘of upmost importance’

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine regards the country’s biodiversity with the “upmost importance”, according to Minister Michael Creed.

The minister was speaking today, Monday, May 20, at the beginning of National Biodiversity Week, outlining the role agriculture can play in stopping the downward trajectory of biodiversity.

Minister Creed highlighted the schemes and initiatives that are in place that, he argued, would protect and enhance biodiversity.

Agriculture has a significant role to play in halting the continued negative trends in biodiversity, as reported in the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services, published in early May.

“My department regards the state of our national biodiversity with the upmost importance and this is reflected in the significant investment in biodiversity supports through the Rural Development Programme and its suite of schemes and measures,” said Minister Creed.

Among these, he specifically named the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS), and the action that farmers can carry under its remit.

Minister Creed mentioned the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) programme, which he said has “seen Ireland lead the way in its development of the locally led approach, supporting farming communities from the bottom-up”.

According to the department, the EIP programme has seen €59 million awarded to 23 projects, including the Hen Harrier Project and the Pearl Mussel Project.

In February, the department made a number of commitments to the ‘Seeds for Nature’ charter, which was published for the National Biodiversity Conference.

Among these commitments are: to co-finance the development of resources for the “Farming for Nature” project; and to “Intensify” the promotion and implementation of the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme, with the aim of increasing the uptake of the scheme five-fold during the current National Forestry Plan.