MAES-related developments in Ireland
- In 2015 National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (DAHRRGA) commissioned consultants to undertake a short pilot to map and assess an initial suite of prioritised ecosystem services. The project developed spatial indicators for potential ecosystem services mapping, based on available national data, using methodologies developed in the UK and the EU. In the course of this work it reviewed the availability and suitability of spatial data, identified data and knowledge gaps to inform future research calls. The project completed in late 2016
- Project report (Irish Wildlife Manual No. 95)
Parker, N., Naumann, E-K., Medcalf, K., Haines-Young, R., Potschin, M., Kretsch, C., Parker, J. & Burkhard, B. (2016) National ecosystem and ecosystem service mapping pilot for a suite of prioritised services. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 95. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Ireland. Irish Wildlife Manual 95.
- The report (as an NPWS Irish Wildlife Manual publication), supporting documents are available on the NPWS website at https://www.npws.ie/research-projects/ecosystems-services-mapping-and-assessment
- A dedicated interactive ESRI Story Map viewer for the project (best viewed using Chrome/Safari or IE Explorer ver 11): http://dahg.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=cb5040a4a19645b6b424bed940c54fff
- NPWS, Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs has recently joined the Horizon 2020 Coordinated Action ’ESMERALDA’ (Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking) (http://www.esmeralda-project.eu/ ). The project aims to deliver a flexible methodology to provide the building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments.
- The Irish Forum on Natural Capital (IFNC) established in 2015, continues to grow from strength to strength, providing a range of seminars and training workshops, aimed at development and application of the natural capital agenda in Ireland. In October 2016, IFNC held its second public conference, in Dublin, on the economics of nature, ‘Making Nature Count’. This sold-out event was attended by over 150 delegates and featured 25 speakers from a range of disciplines. The Interactive Conference Report is available at: http://www.naturalcapitalireland.com/news--blogs/conference-report-published.
- A new National Biodiversity Action Plan (2017-2021) has been drafted by NPWS, Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, and brought to public consultation stage. This plan sets out a range of objectives to meet Ireland’s biodiversity challenges and also its international obligations over the life of the Plan including a number of activities relating to Ecosystem Services.
- The recently established Environment Statistics Accounts Division of Ireland’s Central Statistics Organisation have commenced a number of pilot projects in collaboration with other Government authorities looking at forestry accounts and catchment level statistics (http://www.cso.ie/en/).
Dublin and adjacent administrations are one of c.20 urban areas across the EU who will be participating in the EnRoute project commencing in 2017 (Enhancing Resilience of Urban Ecosystems through Green Infrastructure). The 2 year project is funded by the European Parliament and led by the Euroopean Commission’s Joint Research centre. In line with the projects overarching objectives , the Irish project aims to promote Urban Ecosystem Services and develop Green Infrastructure using a common approach in the participating authorities, in line with international Best Practice and in a way that maximises the benefits of and for biodiversity. The project partners include actors in national, regional and local government as well as NGOs.
The ecosystem services approach is increasingly being recognised at the local level. Some examples of projects have taken place or are underway t the local level include:
- Mountshannon Village Trees Ecosystem Services assessment, grant funded by Clare County Council, in association with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, under Local Area Agenda 21 (LA 21) framework (https://static.rasset.ie/documents/radio1/mountshannon-ecosystem-services-provided-by-mountshannon-village-june-2016.pdf)
- Green Infrastructure mapping projects have been carried out for a number of towns and villages (including Westport and Ballinrobe in County Mayo).
Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a statutory role in coordinating environmental research. Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services including soils and biodiversity is one of the themes under its Sustainability Research pillar for 2014 to 2020. The theme aims to support an integrated and cross-sectoral approach embedding ecosystem approaches such as natural capital, ecosystem services and green infrastructure into policy and practice. Ongoing research projects funded under this theme include:
- TaLAM – Toward Landcover Accounting and Monitoring: https://landmapping.wordpress.com/talam/ (Report due to be published in 2017)
- VIBES - Valuing the significant ecosystem services provided by Irish coastal, marine and estuarine habitats: http://www.nuigalway.ie/semru/valuing_ecosystem_services.html (Report due to be published in 2017)
- ES Manage - aims to embed the ecosystem services approach into policy and decision-making for sustainable management of water resources. http://www.ucd.ie/esmanage/ (Due to complete February 2018)
- A framework for the restoration of degraded peatlands: http://erc.epa.ie/smartsimple/displayFullProjectDetails.php?internalID=808 (Due to complete March 2018)
- QUBBES - Quantification of Blanket Bog Ecosystem Services to Water, which aims to quantify the link between blanket bog ecosystem services and water: http://erc.epa.ie/smartsimple/displayFullProjectDetails.php?internalID=865 (Due to complete April 2019)
- Eco-Health : Ecosystem Benefits of Green Space for Health The Eco-Health project explores the health benefits of ecosystems services as a means to supply evidence and tools for developing health promoting environments or ‘healthy places’ http://www.ecohealth.ie/
Further recently commenced EPA-funded research includes:
- POLLIVAL: assessing market and non-market values of pollination services in Ireland : https://www.tcd.ie/Botany/staff/stout/project-pollival.php (Commenced 01/12/2016)
- EcoMetrics - environmental supporting conditions for Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems (http://erc.epa.ie/smartsimple/displayFullProjectDetails.php?internalID=890) (Commenced 31/03/2017)
Irish researchers in School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy in University College Dublin, working as part of the EU OPERAs project, have produced guidelines for local authorities on the use of deliberative fora for managing and valuing ecosystem services. This is based on their research on socio-cultural values and cultural ecosystem services in Fingal County Council (www.operas-project.eu).
- For additional information see the ESMERALDA country fact sheet