Species & Habitat Conservation in Ireland
Birds and their habitats are afforded some protection under national legislation, European legislation and under international agreements and conventions. Nature conservation law is central to Irish environmental law by affording some protection to our natural heritage as well as it cutting across planning control, pollution licensing, and issues of civil and criminal liability.
At the international level the Irish Government has made political commitments to delivering on the conservation of biological diversity. In 1996 Ireland ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity which gives a commitment to halt the decline in global biodiversity by 2010. Other conventions include the African European Waterfowl Agreement and the Bern and Bonn conventions.
At a European level, there is considerable current activity in the conservation arena for all EU member states. This is focused on implementing the current EU directives namely the EU Habitat Directive, EU Birds Directive, EU Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The first two directives mandate the identification and protection of key Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation in all member states and identify priority species and habitats.
Nationally, in addition to transposing EU directives into Irish law, the Irish Wildlife Act 2000 has been introduced to protect and designate natural Heritage areas, give greater protection to features of the wider countryside, such as hedgerows and regulate hunting.
BirdWatch Ireland is committed to supporting the conservation of Ireland's birds and their habitats. With wide takeholder consultation, we have developed a number of Action Plans for birds and their habitats in the wider countryside. As the BirdLife partner, we are responsible for promoting and updating the status of Ireland's birds and their key sites. Please visit the Important Bird Area (IBA) network and the Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland (BoCCI) sections of our website for further details. We have developed a series of Bird Indicators that will help us to communicate the results effectively to a wide audience, including policy makers and the wider public.